South Africa parliament impeaches top judge

CAPE TOWN. – In a historic move, South Africa’s parliament has impeached one of the country’s top judges for misconduct.

An investigation found that John Hlophe, the leading judge in Western Cape province, tried to influence justices at the country’s top court in a case relating to former President Jacob Zuma.

He approached two justices in 2008 to see if they would support Mr Zuma in a decision relating to a corruption case.

Mr Hlophe always denied the accusation.

The long delay between the alleged offence and his impeachment was a result of a lengthy appeals and investigations.

The removal of a judge is unprecedented since the start of the country’s democratic era in 1994.

A second judge, Nkola Motata, was also impeached for disorderly conduct and racial outbursts relating to a 2007 drunk-driving accident.

Mr Motata, who has since retired, was a High Court judge in Gauteng province at the time of the incident.

He also denied the accusation.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will now have to sign-off the decision and set a date for their formal removal.

The judges will then lose all benefits, including a lifetime salary worth over R1 million a year, a car allowance and comprehensive medical care.

Mr Hlophe was the first to be impeached on Wednesday evening with MPs voting by the required two-thirds majority. –

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