Jafta and Nkabinde won't testify

Judges Jafta and Nkabinde said they would not lodge formal complaints against John Hlophe.

Judges Chris Jafta and Bess Nkabinde said they would not lodge formal complaints against John Hlophe. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Two Constitutional Court judges are expected to formally tell the judicial conduct tribunal on Tuesday they'll go to court rather than testify against Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe.

However, Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke is expected to give evidence as to why he wanted the Constitutional Court to formally accuse Hlophe of trying to influence its decisions in cases relating to President Jacob Zuma.

Last week, judges Chris Jafta and Bess Nkabinde said they would not lodge formal complaints against Hlophe after he spoke to them about the cases in 2008.

Jafta and Nkabinde have used technical legal arguments to avoid testifying in this tribunal and are now likely to say they refuse to accept its decision to continue.

But they have not explained why they first agreed a complaint should be laid by the entire Constitutional Court and then decided not to continue with it.

Hlophe's lawyers appear keen to get on with the tribunal and thus may insist that Moseneke give his evidence to explain why the court decided to press ahead.

They may try to claim that Moseneke bullied the other judges into pressing ahead when they didn't want to.

MOSENEKE TO TESTIFY

Moseneke may finally get to testify under oath as to why he believes Hlophe tried to interfere with Constitutional Court cases.

If Nkabinde and Jafta say they still refuse to testify, Hlophe's lawyers may insist the tribunal bring in the witnesses who will testify.

This would mean his lead lawyer, Courtney Griffiths QC, would then get to question Moseneke.

But Griffiths may try to claim Moseneke actually pushed these judges into going ahead with the complaint and didn't deal with this issue properly.