‘There is strong evidence to show that Hlophe tried to influence judges’

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Evidence leader Advocate Ivy Thenga says there is strong evidence to show that Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe tried to influence Constitutional Court judges to rule in favour of former President Jacob Zuma in a matter before the court 12 years ago.

Thenga has been delivering her closing arguments at the Judicial Conduct Tribunal investigating charges of gross misconduct against Hlophe.

The tribunal is under way in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg.

The charge against Hlophe emanates from the meetings he held separately with Justices Bess Nkabinde and Chris Jafta in 2008.

Thenga also says a language expert’s evidence on the phrase which could be translated to mean “you are our last hope” was biased and therefore must be disregarded.

“For Hlophe JP to start telling judge Nkabinde and Jafta that there was no case against Mr Zuma, knowing that the court was seized with that matter was completely improper and gross in the conduct. In conclusion, it’s submitted therefore that looking at the evidence as a whole, it’s clear that when Hlophe JP said “sesithembele kinina” (Our hope is in you) he was trying to influence the two justices.”

On Wednesday, Western Cape Judge President Hlophe said he didn’t breach judicial ethics: