Hlophe tribunal: Nkabinde and Jafta to answer

Nkabinde and Jafta will have to explain why they did not file a complaint against Hlophe.

Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - It now appears Constitutional Court Judges Chris Jafta and Bess Nkabinde will have to explain to a judicial conduct tribunal why they didn't want to lodge an official complaint against Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe.

On Thursday, the tribunal ruled it would go ahead with the Hlophe hearing despite his claim that it could not hear the case unless they laid a complaint against him.

Hlophe has denied trying to influence Constitutional Court decisions relating to President Jacob Zuma during his conversations with the two judges in 2008.

The two judges are now expected to give evidence on Tuesday, despite the fact that they have previously said they didn't want to.

Tribunal president, retired judge Joop Labuschagne, has already said he doesn't want to subpoena Nkabinde and Jafta.

But it's not clear at the moment if they'll testify voluntarily.

While their lawyers have argued against the continuation of this hearing, they haven't explained why they don't want to continue with the complaint.

This means they might still go to court and refuse to testify.

But if evidence leaders do question Nkabinde and Jafta on Tuesday, they would want to know why they had initially agreed to testify, but then backed down.

If they say they didn't believe Hlophe did anything wrong and they said that to other judges at the time, pressure could mount on Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.

Moseneke has emerged as one of the people who insisted on the complaint being laid against Hlophe in 2008.

Hlophe himself might also decide to go to court and say there is no basis for this trial to continue without a written complaint from the two judges.