Hlophe: Judges want out of Maqubela case
Cape Town - No Western Cape High Court judge wants anything to do with the case against Thandi Maqubela, who is charged with murdering her husband acting judge Patrick Maqubela, Judge President John Hlophe said on Monday.
"None of us want anything to do with the Maqubela case," Hlophe said, including himself.
He was speaking at the widow's final pre-trial conference.
The trial was scheduled to start on Tuesday, but was postponed to October 10 at the request of Maqubela's newly-appointed defence counsel Marius Broeksma.
Broeksma told the court he would launch a formal application for yet another postponement on October 10.
He said Maqubela recently moved from Johannesburg to the Strand, near Cape Town, for the duration of her trial.
He said her bail conditions required her to report daily to the Strand police station, but said this requirement cut short the time he had to consult with her.
Hlophe told Broeksma both applications "for a further postponement and for the relaxation of Maqubela's bail conditions" would have to be brought before Johannesburg Judge John Murphy, who has been seconded to Cape Town to preside in the case.
Broeksma said he had only recently been briefed, and that he was required to peruse the docket, consisting of more than 700 pages, and consult Maqubela about the contents.
Senior State advocate Bonnie Currie-Gamwo told the court she would vigorously oppose Broeksma's application for a further postponement.
She said extensive arrangements had been made for a number of State witnesses to travel to Cape Town, at State expense, for the start of the trial on October 10.
A further postponement would inconvenience them and waste resources.
She said there had recently been a formal inquiry into Maqubela's absence from proceedings last month.
Currie-Gamwo said she had in fact stopped the inquiry so the trial could start on October 4, and had reluctantly agreed to the further postponement to October 10.
Defence attorney Randal Titus, for Maqubela's co-accused Vela Mabena, told the court he was ready for trial.