Judge President of the Western Cape High Court John Hlophe will on Monday face a Judicial Conduct Tribunal for allegedly attempting to influence Constitutional Court judges in a case involving former president Jacob Zuma.
News24's sister publication City Press reported that should Hlophe be found guilty, he will be at risk of becoming the first judge in post-apartheid South Africa to be impeached.
The alleged incident is traced back to a complaint laid by the full Constitutional Court bench, which alleges that Hlophe approached Justice Bess Nkabinde and Justice Christopher Jafta and attempted to improperly influence them in a matter before the court involving Zuma.
Hlophe lodged a counter-complaint alleging that the Constitutional Court justices infringed on his rights by releasing their complaint to the media.
The matter has endured a circuitous and often arduous route over the past decade, with various JSC decisions made and processes set up — many of which were challenged in the courts.
Nkabinde and Jafta argued several technical points about the legality of the tribunal, including that it trespassed on the separation of powers doctrine because a member of the prosecuting authority was to lead evidence.
The tribunal was set up in 2013 on the recommendation of a subcommittee of the JSC, the Judicial Conduct Committee.
It will consist of two judges and a nonjudicial member taken from a list approved by the Chief Justice. Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has appointed Judge Joop Labuschagne as president for the tribunal.