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Cablegate: Allegations of Judicial Lobbying And

R 071255Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4976
INFO AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS PRETORIA 001459


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM KJUS PGOV SF
SUBJECT: ALLEGATIONS OF JUDICIAL LOBBYING AND
CONFIDENTIALITY BREACHES AMONG SOUTH AFRICA'S HIGHEST COURT
JUDGES

1. (U) SUMMARY: The Constitutional Court and Cape Judge
President John Hlope swapped allegations of breaching
judicial protocol and attempts to suborn high court judges in
a high-level corruption case. Hlope is alleged to have tried
to influence two judges who will preside over aspects of the
ruling party president's corruption trial. END SUMMARY

2. (U) The full body of 11 Constitutional Court judges
tendered a detailed case against Western Cape Judge President
John Hlope to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) on June
17. The 27 page complaint alleges that Hlope contacted the
judges in late March 2008 in an attempt to influence their
rulings in appeals related to the Directorate of Special
Operations (aka The Scorpions) corruption investigation
against ANC President Zuma. Hlope encouraged both judges to
decide "properly" in the cases and reminded them that "some
judges were going to lose their jobs." Hlope lobbied one
judge by emphasizing what he thought was their shared Zulu
ethnicity, which later turned out to be false as the judge
had taken her husband's name. He encouraged another judge to
"make himself available for appointment to the Constitutional
Court," implying he could make this happen. The complaint
also states that Hlope told the judges he was politically
well-connected and had ties to the national intelligence
leadership implying that their positive response would be to
their benefit.

3. (U) Days before the Constitutional Court judges filed
their complaint, members of the ANC party, the legal
community and Judge Hlope himself criticized the
Constitutional Court for publicly airing internal judicial
workings and condemning him before the complaint was ever
made. (NOTE: No one has publicly defended Judge Hlope's
innocence of the charges, only that the proper procedure was
not used END NOTE). The Constitutional Court judges address
these charges by arguing that it was in the interest of
judicial transparency for all aspects of the complaint to be
heard publicly. The fate of Judge Hlope is now in the JSC
which will report its findings in the coming weeks.

BOST

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