Posted on October 13, 2005

Hlophe Charged by Cape Bar Council

SAPA, Oct. 13

A charge relating to allegations of racism has been laid by the Cape Bar Council against Cape Judge President John Hlophe, Beeld newspaper reported on Thursday.

It said the charge has been referred to Chief Justice Pius Langa.

Hlophe was recently accused of calling a Cape Town lawyer Joshua Greeff a “piece of white shit” and telling him to go back to The Netherlands.

Hlophe has denied making the remark, saying he was the target of a conspiracy.

On Wednesday, General Council of the Bar chairperson Norman Arendse denied being part of any conspiracy to discredit Hlophe.

He was responding to claims that Hlophe deliberately tried to sabotage fellow Judge Wilfred Thring earlier this year.

Hlophe is said to have told Arendse he had given a particular case to Thring in the hope he would err in his judgement and the matter would be overturned on appeal.

The case saw the Western Cape education department take the predominantly Afrikaans-speaking Mikro Primary School to court to compel it to accept English-speaking students.

Arendse had appeared for the education department, and Thring ruled against him and in favour of the school in the politically charged matter.

Hlophe last year made allegations of serious racism at the Cape Bench in a report to Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Brigitte Mabandla.

Arendse confirmed on Wednesday he wrote to former chief justice Arthur Chaskalson and his successor, Langa, about the Thring matter in February or March of this year.

“What they do with it or did with it, is up to them, and that’s still my attitude. I’m not going to become embroiled in any media or public spat with anybody,” said Arendse.

Also on Wednesday, the Democratic Alliance called on the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) to intervene in the ongoing controversy over Hlophe.

“The Hlophe racism saga with allegations, rumours, counter-allegations and denials continues to snowball and is unfortunately damaging the stature and integrity of the Western Cape Bench and Bar,” DA justice spokesperson Sheila Camerer said. “Decisive action by the chief justice and the JSC is needed to bring the matter to a conclusion.”