You may remember Judge President John Hlophe of the Cape Provincial Division of the High Court from the recent case involving the regulations governing pricing for pharmaceuticals. In that matter he became embroiled in a controversy concerning the amount of time it took him to arrive at a decision whether to allow leave to appeal to a higher court.
More recently it has emerged that he is alleged to have made derogatory comments about a colleage in a matter the language in which learners are to be taught. IOL has reported as follows:
New Hlophe row arises
By Angela Quintal and Kevin Ritchie
Cape Judge President John Hlophe has on Wednesday vehemently denied claims he deliberately assigned the Mikro Primary School case to a “conservative” judge who could be relied on to “f**k it up”.
“This is utter rubbish,” he said, describing the claim as the latest move in a campaign to discredit him because he had been the first person to go public on racism and sexism in the Cape High Court.
The new claim comes just a week after Judge Hlophe was alleged to have called a local lawyer “a piece of white s**t”.
This time Judge Hlophe is alleged to have told General Council of the Bar chairman Norman Arendse SC – who appeared for the Western Cape government in the Mikro Primary School case – that he had assigned the case to Justice Wilf Thring because he believed he would “f**k” it up and it would be corrected on appeal.
In February Mikro’s governing body took the education department to court when the department insisted that Mikro, in Kuils River, take in 21 Grade 1s who needed to be taught in English.
Judge Thring ruled that the department had to find alternative accommodation for the pupils. The education department appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which in June dismissed the appeal, ruling in favour of the governing body.
These incidents are very unfortunate because they shed an unfavourable light on our judicial system, regardless of whether they are true. Hopefully this issue will be resolved quickly. It is most important that our judicial system be respected if it is to be a truly effective force for change in South Africa.