Africa: Hlophe's Bongo Ruling - a Hand Grenade Tossed Into South Africa's Political Chaos


Many will say that a ruling by a judge facing not one, but two inquiries at the Judicial Service Commission cannot be trusted. Others will use it to declare that the principle of 'innocent until proven guilty' is violated should the ANC suspend its members accused of crimes.

On Friday the Western Cape Judge President, John Hlophe, ruled that the prosecution in the case of former state security minister Bongani Bongo did not have a case against him, in the allegation that he had attempted to bribe a senior official to stop Parliament's Eskom Inquiry.

The ruling lands like a grenade in a set of dynamics involving the excruciating debate over the ANC's "step aside" resolution, the recent attacks on the judiciary, and more importantly, the National Executive Committee's (NEC's) position on the corruption case against ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule.

Perhaps more importantly for the judiciary, the ruling also involves the embattled Hlophe himself, a judge who has been accused of assaulting another judge and lying about it, and claims that he himself was involved in a case concerning his own attorney, Barnabas Xulu.

Repeat offender? State Attorney slams Judge Hlophe for switching judges in high-profile case involving his lawyer...

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