Infamous words in isiZulu examined as Hlophe hearing starts

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Infamous words in isiZulu examined as Hlophe hearing starts

Interpretation of what John Hlophe meant by ‘sesithembele kinina’ potentially crucial to tribunal’s ruling

FRANNY RABKIN

The long-awaited judicial conduct tribunal into a gross misconduct complaint against Western Cape judge president John Hlophe began on Monday with an expert witness testifying on the meaning of “sesithembele kinina”.

The now infamous words in isiZulu were uttered by Hlophe — as “a parting shot” he said — at a meeting with Constitutional Court justice Chris Jafta in 2008. They are a crucial part of the evidence in a complaint, now 12 years old, laid by all the then justices of the Constitutional Court.

The justices complained that Hlophe had sought to influence the outcome of a judgment then pending at the highest court linked to corruption charges against former president Jacob Zuma. He was then the president of the ANC and at the time it was widely believed that a judgment in Zuma’s favour would clear the path for him to become president of the country...

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