WESTERN Cape Judge President John Hlophe has filed a formal complaint
with the press ombudsman, accusing the Mail & Guardian of lying on
four counts in a "defamatory" article about him published a fortnight
ago, according to a report on iol.co.za.

"It is with great shock and horror that I read a report in the Mail & Guardian dated August 7, 2009 that falsely and untruthfully represented me in great detail," he wrote to the ombudsman in his statement, of which Sapa has a copy.

Hlophe said he never granted the Mail & Guardian an exclusive interview, as the article was portrayed by the weekly paper.

Secondly, he denied having told the reporter that he refused to shake Chief Justice Pius Langa's hand because "I am not going to shake a white man's hand" as the article claimed he said.

Thirdly, he said he never described the Constitutional Court as "green robes, white justice" and having "sold out by perpetuating Eurocentric jurisprudence".

Lastly, Hlophe denied stating that Zulu King Zwelethini was sent into exile for his own safety as his uncle, Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthi Buthelezi had regal ambitions.

He said the reporter who wrote the article, Sello S Alcock, sent him a text message two days after the disputed story was published in which he offered to retract it.

The text read as follows, Hlophe said: "Thanks JP for the frank conversation this afternoon. I think as a matter of principle the fact that you were not aware that I was interviewing you while I thought I was nullifies the article and challenges my integrity as well.

"I will have a discussion with my employees (sic) for a retraction on that basis and I want you to know that my intentions were pure."

The Mail & Guardian has stood by its story, but conceded that the reporter did not take notes or use a tape recorder when he spoke to Hlophe over dinner with friends of the embattled judge president.

Click here to read the full report, posted on iol.co.za.