Bernadette Wicks
Senior court reporter
3 minute read
8 Dec 2020
5:10 am

Judge Hlophe’s statement was misinterpreted, language guru tells tribunal

Bernadette Wicks

'It’s the job of this tribunal to decide what the judge president intended. Your expertise is in language, not psychology,' said advocate Gilbert Marcus, representing Constitutional Court justices.

Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe is pictured at Premier Hotel, OR Tambo International Airport, 7 December 2020, at the gross misconduct tribunal where he's accused of trying to influence 2 ConCourt justices in Zuma's favour in 2008. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

A language expert says there is “absolutely no evidence” to suggest controversial Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe was trying to influence then acting Constitutional Court Justice Chris Jafta when he told him sesithembele kinina in 2008. The isiZulu phrase loosely translates to “we put our confidence in you” and Hlophe’s use of it in the conversation in question forms part of a complaint of gross misconduct levelled against him over allegations he was trying to use his sway to curry judicial favour for Jacob Zuma who, at the time, had a number of cases before the Constitutional Court. But,...