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Parliament, Tuesday, 21 September 2021 - National Assembly Speaker, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, has decided to abide with the application before the Gauteng High Court brought by the Western Cape Judge President, John Hlophe.

Judge President Hlophe seeks an order to stay the proceedings of the National Assembly for his removal from office in terms of section 177 of the Constitution. Section 177 empowers the National Assembly to call for the removal of a judge by a two-thirds majority vote.

Last month, Ms Mapisa-Nqakula received a letter from the Acting Deputy Chief Justice (ADCJ) and Acting Chairperson of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), Justice Sisi Khampepe, confirming the JSC's decision to uphold the guilty finding of the Judicial Conduct Tribunal (JCT). The letter informed the Speaker about the investigations and conclusions of the JSC on allegations made by Constitutional Court Justices that Judge President Hlophe had improperly attempted to influence the Constitutional Court's impending judgement in the Zuma/Thint matters.

The letter from the JSC stated that eleven Justices of the Constitutional Court filed a complaint with the JSC against Judge President Hlophe on 30 May 2008.

Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula subsequently referred the letter to the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services for consideration. The Justice and Correctional Services resolved that: administrative support staff work through the JSC documents, look at all procedural aspects, and advise the committee on the process.

In response to Judge President Hlophe’s application, Speaker Mapisa-Nqakula opted to file an explanatory affidavit, focusing on the separation of powers and the constitutional responsibility of the National Assembly regarding the removal of a judge in terms of Section 177 of the Constitution.

She will contend that the National Assembly, in particular, is currently in its constituency period until 3 November 2021, in line with the local government elections timetable. As such, the deliberations on the impeachment process may practically only take place after the constituency period. Therefore, the applicant can accordingly have no apprehension of the process proceeding until November 2021.

The hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.

Enquiries: Moloto Mothapo 082 370 6930