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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Malema tells Hlophe: ‘We should meet soon and plot the way forward’

Although Hlophe has received a message of support from the EFF leader, things have not always been well between them.

The impeachment of Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe has divided the opinion of South Africans, with some slamming the vote, while others celebrate his exit.

Hlophe was impeached on Wednesday after 305 MPs voted in favour and 27 against following a debate riddled with accusations of racism in the judiciary.

His impeachment came after the recommendation of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, following a gross misconduct guilty verdict by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

Hlophe had acted improperly when he attempted to sway two Constitutional Court justices in favour of former president Jacob Zuma when he attempted to overturn warrants used to seize 93 000 pages of corruption trial evidence against him in 2008.

He was suspended by President Cyril Ramaphosa in December 2022.

Hlophe impeachment: ‘whites flexing their power’

While some say it was long overdue, others argue that he was being targeted.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) MP Busisiwe Mkhwebane said Hlophe was being targeted for being black.

ALSO READ: ‘No shred of integrity’ – Judges Hlophe and Motata impeached by Parliament

She said during the debate: “Today this house is required to endorse what is essentially what is a culmination of a concoction of deep rooted racism in the judiciary.

“Judge President Hlophe, a distinguished judge and an exceptional legal scholar, is about to be the first victim of a toxic and unforgiving culture of impelling black people who dare stand up against the dominant liberal and racist discourse in this country and more pronounced in the Western Cape. His only sin is that he simply discussed law with his colleagues.

“We reject this selling out of our liberation ideas. We reject the abuse of Judge Hlope and deem all of this unconstitutional behaviour. This is not about justice, it’s about gross misconduct of Judge Hlophe, in the main, about whites flexing their power over their puppets in government to punish Hlophe. We know, as the EFF, that the judge was highly qualified and he did his work with dignity. Punish this ANC government.”

ALSO READ: ‘I’m not the only one who remarked about Zuma’: Hlophe says political interference behind impeachment

Mkhwebane is the first head of a Chapter 9 institution to be removed from her post and is currently engaged in a legal battle to receive her R10 million gratuity, which her previous employer argues she is not entitled to.

‘You’ll never go to bed hungry’

EFF leader Julius Malema sent a message of support to his “brother”, who he believes was wrongly impeached.

“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 Hellen Suzman Foundation and you continue to mark these racists,” said Malema.

ALSO READ: John Hlophe misconduct saga several years from reaching a conclusion

“We can assure you that 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 29 May 2024.”

However, just like Mkhwebane, Hlophe was not always Malema’s cup of tea.

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