In an unprecedented move in South African legal history, a Deputy Judge President has accused a Judge President of attempting to influence judicial appointments, assaulting fellow judges, sexual impropriety and creating a climate of hostility and fear in chambers.
The explosive complaint, lodged by Western Cape Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath with the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) on 15 January 2019, has set out alleged widespread misconduct by Western Cape Judge President, John Hlophe, and his wife, Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe.
The most serious allegation by Goliath is that Hlophe had, in 2015, attempted to influence the appointment of judges in a legal challenge by NGOs Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute to former President Jacob Zuma's secret R1-trillion nuclear deal with Russia.
Goliath claims that Hlophe had informed her back then that "criticism of former President Jacob Zuma with regard to the controversial nuclear deal was unwarranted".
The Deputy Judge President added that Hlophe had attempted to influence her to allocate the matter to two judges that "he perceived to be favourably disposed towards the former president".
"I immediately dismissed the idea and referred him to a Daily Maverick article in which negative aspersions were...