Judge John Hlophe described our case as "s**t" - EFF

Fighters say WCape JP told their lawyer that he would not allocate judge to hear challenge to MPs suspensions

The EFF condemns judge president Hlophe for undermining eff lawyer and taking sides in the matter against parliament

8 December 2104

The Economic Freedom Fighters condemns the conduct of the Western Cape High Court Judge Presdient, John Hlophe who is harassing the EFF lawyer, Mr. Luvuyo R. Godla, working on the case of the EFF suspended Members of Parliament. Judge Hlophe has insulted our lawyer, dismissed him and invited him for a public media war for simply requesting the EFF matter of the suspended MPs to be heard at the Western Cape High Court.

This is the same Judge Hlohpe who is to face the Judicial Service Commission on allegations of misconduct dating back to 30 May 2008 when judges of the Constitutional Court who referred him to JSC. The justices did this as a result of what they described as "an improper attempt to influence the Court's pending judgement in one or more cases". They indicated that the complaint related to four matters in which either Thint (Pty) Ltd or the Deputy President, Jacob Zuma, were involved.

Essentially, Judge Hlophe tried to protect Jacob Zuma from answering to courts regarding his corruption charges.

The EFF lawyer is working on a matter relating to Parliament's decision to suspend EFF MPs who were challenging President Zuma once more on matters relating to corruption, this time, in Nkadla. The EFF lawyer reports that Judge Hlophe called him to his chamber in a meeting set to take place between himself, the EFF lawyer and the parliament lawyers and told him that "he [Hlophe] is not going to allocate the matter to any judge because our matter was late".

This is despite the fact that he never told our lawyer about the time of the meeting and this is because the meeting which was supposed to have been held between the judge, the EFF lawyers and opponents was held in Mr. Luvuyo R. Godla's absence before the agreed time. In addition, the times for the files to be with the Judge President was never communicated to the EFF lawyer.

Upon the EFF lawyer trying to explain and plead with the Judge for an allocation, Judge Hlophe told him "to go to the public and tell the media that he kicked [him] out of his court as we started the case with the media". The EFF lawyer indicates that Judge Hlophe first told him to tell his client that "he will kick them out of his court should he hear from the media that we are having an appointment with him" and this he said in front of both Advocate Duminy and Mr Manuel representing parliament in the matter.

Today Judge Hlophe added by saying "he is not going to allocate this "rubbish" case to any judge" and thus the EFF lawyer "must just get out and go to the media". When our lawyer requested another appointment with him to get allocation, again Judge Hlophe told him "that he is not willing to get involved in this "s**t" case again."

The attitude of Judge Hlophe is not unique in this matter, our lawyer also reports that he expressed the same disdain on the EFF matter versus the Chair of the NCOP dealing with the question of whether it is parliamentary to say the ANC government killed workers in Marikana.

Judge Hlophe told the EFF lawyer then that his "clients must never set foot in his court with overalls, otherwise he would chuck them out of his court. He told [him] that he will never tolerate what [his] clients do in Parliament."

It cannot be, in a democratic country, that a Judge President who has sworn to fulfil his duties without fear, favour and prejudice and upon whom all other judges must look up for leadership holds such attitudes.

The EFF is in front of the court because it believes that the parliament disciplinary hearing has undermined its rights and violated principles of natural justice. Furthermore, the EFF comes to court to find sober judgement and a fair hearing because in parliament the ANC is the judge, the prosecutor, and the complainant. Yet it is further being harassed by a member of the judiciary who is clearly trying to use the court processes to protect Jacob Zuma from answering the questions the EFF put to him in parliament.

The EFF will be approaching the Judicial Service Commission to lay a complaint on Judge Hlophe's conduct, comments and clear bias. No one in this country must judge the EFF on the basis of its dress code; in anyway, the matter of red overalls is not even in front of his court.

This is yet another demonstration that Hlophe, like many elites in South Africa, despises the EFF parliament dress code because it reminds him of the working class that he partakes in oppressing.

Judge Hlophe's conduct is delegitimising the courts and killing public confidence in their independence, particularly on political matters.

This is particularly critical in a time when South Africa's democracy is under assault by the cabinet and the ruling party who everywhere undermine institutions upholding democratic practice. The EFF will never be intimidated into submission by corrupt judges and will do everything in its power to defend the gains of democracy even from the judiciary.

It is noteworthy that this democracy we enjoy was not on the basis of noble court judgements, but street protest mass action. Thus, if needs be, if the courts will not do their noble duty, they leave the public with no option but to return to the streets.

The EFF has instructed its Senior Council to write Judge Hlophe a letter requesting an allocation, falling which we shall approach the Constitutional Court on urgent basis. The EFF matter, like any matter of justice, deserves to be hear by the country's courts, regardless of how they feel about the revolutionary regalia of red overalls.

Judge Hlophe thinks that South Africa is Jacob Zuma's farm where laws can be violated and the judiciary used to stamp illegal decisions. We want to assure the people of South Africa and the entire Judiciary that this time, Hlophe has stepped on wrong terrain and the EFF will do everything in its power to uproot political Deployees in the Judiciary.

The EFF will never allow mistreatment by questionable Judges who throw their weight around, all in protection of a corrupt system with a corrupt President.

Statement issued by the Economic Freedom Fighters, December 8 2014

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