Home National President Ramaphosa Removes Judge President Hlophe and Retired Judge Motata from Office

President Ramaphosa Removes Judge President Hlophe and Retired Judge Motata from Office

by Central News Reporter
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Judge Hlophe and Judge Motata

President Ramaphosa Ousts High Court Judge President Hlophe and Retired Judge Motata Following Parliamentary Resolutions

CAPE TOWN – President Cyril Ramaphosa has expelled Judge President Mandlakayise John Hlophe from the Western Cape Division of the High Court from office. The step follows a conclusive vote by members of the National Assembly.

The announcement emerged from the presidency on Wednesday, detailing the resolution and its adherence to the South African constitutional mandate. “President Cyril Ramaphosa has in accordance with section 177 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa which states that ‘A judge may be removed from office only if— (a) the Judicial Service Commission finds that the judge suffers from an incapacity, is grossly incompetent or is guilty of gross misconduct; and (b) the National Assembly calls for that judge to be removed, by a resolution adopted with a supporting vote of at least two thirds of its members. (2) The President must remove a judge from office upon adoption of a resolution calling for that judge to be removed,'” the presidency relayed in a statement.

The National Assembly saw a broad consensus with 305 MPs, including figures from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), voting in favor of Judge Hlophe’s removal. The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) led the charge against, with 27 MPs opposing the motion.

This action stems from long-standing allegations first raised in 2008 by justices of the Constitutional Court, accusing Hlophe of attempting to sway the court on matters concerning former president Jacob Zuma and the arms company Thint over corruption charges.

The controversy escalated when the Judicial Service Commission referred the case to Parliament after the Judicial Conduct Tribunal (“JCT”) found that Judge Hlophe’s actions grossly compromised the sanctity of the judiciary. “The JCT established that Judge Hlophe’s behavior seriously threatened and interfered with the independence, impartiality, dignity, and effectiveness of the Constitutional Court and further undermined public confidence in the judicial system,” stated Ramaphosa.

Additionally, President Ramaphosa took parallel action against retired Judge of the Gauteng High Court Division, Justice Nkola John Motata, following a parliamentary resolution that ascertained proceedings for his removal. “President Ramaphosa has also in terms of section 177(2) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa removed… Justice Nkola John Motata following the National Assembly resolution to remove Judge Motata,” confirmed the presidency, with 296 MPs favoring his removal. Retired Judge Motata’s gross misconduct was underpinned by a drunk driving conviction dating back to 2009.

The Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) responded fiercely, viewing the dismissal as a fiercely political maneuver. “We stand firm in our condemnation of the removal of Judge President Mandlakayise John Hlophe by President Cyril Ramaphosa,” stated the PAC President. The party labeled the procedure as a ‘blatant political assault’ and criticized the legislative process, “The lack of due process and the disregard for JP Hlophe’s right to be heard reveal a distressing abdication of responsibility by Parliament, pushing a dedicated servant of the judiciary to the proverbial gallows.”

The PAC President also lambasted the actions as going against the grain of justice and fairness, saying, “Such actions are not only cowardly and treacherous but a stark deviation from the principles of justice and fairness. History will indeed judge this moment harshly.”

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