Court hears of mystery call about judge
Cape Town - A mysterious telephone call falsely informed acting judge Patrick Maqubela's secretary that the judge was in Groote Schuur Hospital, the Western Cape High Court heard on Thursday.
Joy Ely-Hanslo, the secretary, told the court the caller identified herself only as Amanda. When she telephoned the hospital, no one knew who Amanda was or anything about Maqubela's admission.
She received the call on Friday, June 5 2009, the day that the judge is alleged to have been murdered.
The deceased's widow, Thandi, and businessman Vela Mabena are charged with Maqubela's murder.
Ely-Hanslo said the Western Cape High Court reserved Fridays for the hearing of appeals. Every Friday, before the appeals started, all the judges had a meeting.
That Friday, Judge Maqubela was to have heard appeals with Judge Elliot Dlodlo.
She added: "The deceased did not arrive at work at all that day."
She said she made several attempts to reach him that day, but his phone just rang. She left several messages for him to call her urgently.
She said she informed both Judge Dlodlo and deputy Judge President Jeanette Traverso of the Maqubela's absence.
When she received the call from Amanda, Ely-Hanslo asked why the judge was in hospital, but Amanda said she could not furnish any information.
Ely-Hanslo telephoned the Johannesburg attorney's firm where Maqubela had been a partner, when not on the Bench, and she was given the telephone number of the judge's wife.
"I informed her that her husband had not arrived at office, and told her about the call I had got from Groote Schuur Hospital," Ely-Hanso told the court.
"I asked her to call the hospital to make inquiries, and to get back to me, because I was concerned about him."
Ely-Hanslo added: "After I told the judge's wife about the phone call from the hospital, there was silence at first as if she were shocked or surprised."
Just before lunch that Friday, the wife telephoned Ely-Hanslo and said she would ask a friend to make inquiries at the hospital.
Around 15:00 that Friday, Mrs Maqubela called to say her friend had been to the hospital, but the judge was not there, Ely-Hanslo told the court.
It was only that Monday, June 8, when Ely-Hanslo arrived at office, that she heard about the death.
The trial continues on Monday.