The Judicial Services Commission has resolved to recommend to Ramaphosa that he suspends Judge Hlophe pending a vote by the National Assembly on whether he should be impeached.
The ATM has cautioned President Cyril Ramaphosa against suspending the head of the Western Cape High Court division Judge President John Hlophe following a recommendation by the Judicial Services Commission (JSC).
In a statement released late on Monday, the JSC said it had “deliberated and resolved to advise the president to suspend Judge President Hlophe in terms of Section 177 of the Constitution”.
The JSC has resolved to recommend to Ramaphosa that he suspends Judge Hlophe pending a vote by the National Assembly on whether he should be impeached.
In a statement on Tuesday, the party said it was appalled at what appeared to be a blatant display of judicial capture.
“The power of the president to suspend in terms of s177(3) cannot be exercised as yet because the ground on which the suspension is based is still pending at the Supreme Court of Appeal. Also, the president is not compelled to suspend because the relevant section in the Constitution does not say ‘must’, it says ‘may’.
“The ATM calls on President Ramaphosa not to act irrationally and to bear in mind that he is in fact conflicted as far as the Western Cape High Court is concerned. President Ramaphosa has cases pending in the Western Cape High Court, including the Phala Phala Farm Gate Questions, the ATM’s secret ballot case on the no-confidence motion in him, and the public protector case,” read the statement.
The party stated that “any decision to entertain the recommendation of the JSC should be deemed interference by the executive on judicial processes”.
Furthermore, it said the members of the Judicial Service Commission would be the first people to respect processes pending in the courts, and mentioned that it is shocking that the JSC decided to undermine judicial protocols.
“This action by the JSC, unfortunately, has unintended consequences of giving credence to allegations of judicial capture. What or who exactly is putting the JSC under pressure at the risk of destroying the credibility of our judiciary.
“President Ramaphosa must reject this approach by the JSC and prevail upon them to respect the ongoing court process and the presumption of Judge Hlophe’s innocence,” the party said.
Political analyst Dr Metji Makgoba weighed in and said the judiciary showed signs of not being independent and that was the reason no one wins a case against Ramaphosa in court.
“It is also important to know that Hlophe is one of the most progressive judges in the country who has been pushing for transformation.
“I think all these things are a sign that we are in trouble because Ramaphosa is running a deep state that is presenting itself as being anti-corrupt when all signs are there that something is wrong,” said Makgoba.