Babalo Ndenze10 July 2024 | 9:30

No legal obstacle to stop Hlophe's designation to the JSC, says Didiza

In a letter to the organisations, including the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC), Judges Matter and the Helen Suzman and Ahmed Kathrada foundations, National Assembly Speaker Thoko Didiza said there was no legal obstacle to stop Hlophe.

No legal obstacle to stop Hlophe's designation to the JSC, says Didiza

MK Party chief whip John Hlophe sworn in as an MP on 25 June 2024. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - National Assembly Speaker Thoko Didiza has told civil society organisations that nothing could have prevented John Hlophe’s designation to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
 
The uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) Party Parliamentary leader’s nomination was ratified by the National Assembly on Tuesday paving his way to serve on the JSC.

In a letter to the organisations, including the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC), Judges Matter and the Helen Suzman and Ahmed Kathrada foundations, Didiza said there was no legal obstacle to stop Hlophe.

The organisations had written to Didiza, saying Hlophe was not fit and proper citing his impeachment by the assembly.

In her letter addressed to Judith February and the five organisations, Didiza said that Section 178 of the Constitution states that members of Parliament (MPs) must choose members to serve on the JSC and at least three must come from the opposition.

Didiza further states that the Constitution only includes two requirements, that a person must be a member of the assembly and that half of the persons designated to the JSC must come from the opposition.

“There are no further criteria”, wrote Didiza.

She also told the organisations that there is also no specific requirement that an MP be “fit and proper”.

Didiza added that ultimately, the decision to designate Hlophe to the JSC rested entirely with the National Assembly as a collective.

While noting Hlophe’s designation, Freedom Under Law said it would be challenging it legally on “rationality and rule of law” grounds.