‘You will never go to bed hungry’, MALEMA tells impeached judge HLOPHE

Thursday, February 22, 2024
 – EFF leader Julius Malema has assured impeached Western Cape judge president John Hlophe he would “never go to bed hungry” after his removal from office by parliament.

Parliament on Wednesday voted for Hlophe's removal by 305 votes to 27, ending a protracted legal battle which started in 2008. The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) found Hlophe attempted to influence Constitutional Court judges Chris Jafta and Bess Nkabinde to rule in favour of former President Jacob Zuma and arms company Thint (formerly Thales) on corruption charges in March 2008.

“Don't be scared my brother, history will absolve you. We should meet soon and plot the way forward, but my immediate proposal is that you form something like Freedom Under Law or the Helen Suzman Foundation and you continue to mark these racists,” Malema said.

“We assure you, you will never go to bed hungry and this is inspired by the battle cry 'an injury to one is an injury to all'. We love you JP Hlophe, freedom is coming on May 29.”

Malema has not always had kind words for Hlophe. In 2017, Malema described the judge as “the most worrying thing about our judiciary”. Seven years later he seems to have had a change of heart.

EFF MP Omphile Maotwe criticised ANC MPs who voted against Hlophe and said: “Hlophe, we shall smile again. The sun will rise again. We will defeat [these] hypocrites. ANC must be removed from power.”

Last month, Hlophe, in an EFF podcast with Maotwe, blamed his misfortunes on political parties' influence, though he was found guilty of misconduct by the JSC. He claimed the decision by President Cyril Ramaphosa to suspend him in December 2022 was politically motivated.

“When this thing started in 2008, I went on suspension. I took voluntarily suspension and I was off the bench for 18 months. I was cleared by the JSC on September 29 2009. Then I went back and worked until my suspension in December 17 2022,” he said.

Hlophe said the contestation of the case by the Western Cape government was instigated by DA federal chairperson Helen Zille.

“Political parties such as the DA, Freedom Under Law and Helen Zille brought this thing back again and it started all over. When I was suspended by Ramaphosa it was clear to me it was for political reasons. Ramaphosa is a politician, he is the head of state, so whenever he takes a decision it is a political decision.

“It is unheard of in any civilised world that a person can be suspended for two separate occasions in respect of the same thing. It doesn't happen. It is clear to me he did not act lawfully but acted politically. He was bowing to some political pressure.”

Listen to the full podcast here.

DA MP advocate Glynnis Breytenbach applauded parliament for impeaching Hlophe.

“More than 15 years later the DA’s position that Hlophe lacks the integrity to be a judge has been affirmed by the National Assembly which has adopted a resolution supporting the JSC's finding that Hlophe should be removed as a judge,” Breytenbach said.

“While the DA welcomes the finality of this matter, we remain concerned that the process to remove Hlophe took more than 15 years after the 2008 misconduct complaint was lodged. The process was protracted and complex, with extensive investigations, hearings and deliberations by the JSC. We also saw political interference and legal technicalities delaying the process.”

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