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ConCourt judge takes issue with recording of testimony at Hlophe tribunal

The tribunal follows a 2008 complaint by judges of the apex court who accused Hlophe of improperly trying to influence two of their colleagues in a pending case regarding former President Jacob Zuma and arms manufacturer Thint in the arms deal case.

Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe. Picture: www.judiciary.org.za

JOHANNESBURG - Constitutional Court judges testifying before the Judicial Conduct Tribunal against Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe have taken issue with how the statement of complaint from the court recorded their testimony.

The tribunal, which entered its second day on Tuesday, follows a 2008 complaint by judges of the apex court who accused Hlophe of improperly trying to influence two of their colleagues in a pending case regarding former President Jacob Zuma and arms manufacturer Thint in the arms deal case.

Constitutional Court Justice Chris Jafta explained that some of the contents in the statement submitted to the Judicial Service Commission misquoted his initial evidence submitted through his lawyers.

Jafta was the first judge with whom Hlophe held a meeting to discuss what he described as “wide-ranging” issues, where he inferred on him that the Supreme Court of Appeal had misinterpreted the law in their adverse judgment against Zuma.

"I understood it to mean the Constitutional Court as the highest court, will have will have to put right that which was wrong in the judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal."

However, when cross-examined, Jafta explained that he did not see anything amiss about their discussion despite the complaint submitted presenting it as problematic.

Jafta has also admitted that he and Hlophe had enjoyed a decades-long friendship.

Meanwhile, Constitutional Court Justice Bess Nkabinde is currently testifying about the contents of a meeting with Hlophe where she said that she felt he was trying to influence her as opposed to the statement’s phrasing, which said he sought to improperly persuade her.

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