Quote of the week

Regard must be had to the higher standard of conduct expected from public officials, and the number of falsehoods that have been put forward by the Public Protector in the course of the litigation.  This conduct included the numerous “misstatements”, like misrepresenting, under oath, her reliance on evidence of economic experts in drawing up the report, failing to provide a complete record, ordered and indexed, so that the contents thereof could be determined, failing to disclose material meetings and then obfuscating the reasons for them and the reasons why they had not been previously disclosed, and generally failing to provide the court with a frank and candid account of her conduct in preparing the report. The punitive aspect of the costs order therefore stands.

KHAMPEPE J and THERON J
Public Protector v South African Reserve Bank (CCT107/18) [2019] ZACC 29 (22 July 2019)
19 February 2008

Ricard on Hlophe and Tshabalala (and what about the Porsche?)

Carmel Ricard takes up the question of why the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) have not been even handed in their treatment of judges. Writing in The Weekender she asks why Judge President of KwaZulu/Natal, Vuka Tshabalala, had to hand back his almost R7 million in shares received from Tokyo Sexwale’s company while Judge President of the Cape, John Hlophe, was not asked to hand back the money given to him by Oasis.

Money quote:

[W]hy did the commission not tell the outraged public that it had asked Tshabalala to return the shares, and why did it not inform us he had done so? An answer to this question was given this week by commission spokesman Marumo Moerane. Commenting to The Mercury, he said the commission had not made public “the decision” (presumably Tshabalala’s decision to return the shares) because the judge-president had “only orally” informed the chief justice that he had disposed of his shares, and written confirmation was required.

So, you may ask, why haven’t commissioners asked him to set it down in black and white? Since the judge-president complied promptly with the request to return the shares, I can’t imagine that he would refuse to put his acquiescence in writing.

Far more interesting, however, is the fact that, as Moerane put it, “written confirmation was required” by the commission. Obviously, a judge’s word no longer carries the weight it might have done in the past, and it’s now clearly the commission’s default position to disbelieve everything a judge says.

Meanwhile I am told that Judge Hlophe’s brand new black Porsche is now parked every day in the Judge’s parking area. The Judge President is obviously not someone to worry about public perceptions and have convinced the powers that be to give him the Porsche (instead of a lowly BMW or Mercedes Benz) as an official judges car – after agreeing to pay in the difference between the cost of the Porsche and that of a less flashy car he would have otherwise been entitled to as a Judge.

I wonder where he got the money that was paid in to make up the difference between the price of a Porsche and the price of a top end BMW? A BMW 530d E60 Dsl MY05 costs R 495,500 while a midrange PORSCHE 911 Carrera S Coupe costs about R 995,000 and the top end PORSCHE 911/997 Turbo 3.6 Cabriolet 4×4 costs R 1,950,000.

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