South Africa: Goliath v Hlophe - Chief Justice Stays Out of the Fray


The chief justice says that, despite the public perception, he is not legally empowered to act against Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has informed the Cape Bar Council that the Judicial Conduct Committee will be dealing with a gross misconduct complaint lodged by Western Cape Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath against Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe.

In response to a letter by the Cape Bar Council calling for the chief justice to place three judges on leave at the start of the court term, and while complaints of misconduct are investigated, Mogoeng said he was not aware of any legal framework that empowered him to do so.

"Where I am legally empowered to act, I will not hesitate to do so. But, legality forbids that any of us acts to please the public that assumes that the power to do what they think is right has been assigned, when it is in reality not so," responded Mogoeng.

The Cape Bar Council wrote to Mogoeng on 26 January calling for Goliath, Hlophe, a judge who was allegedly assaulted, as well as Judge Gayaat Salie-Hlophe to refrain from performing their functions in the meantime. This was...

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