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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Malema denies being a flip-flopper: ‘I didn’t change any views about John Hlophe’

Malema says he can disagree with someone and still defend their rights.

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema has denied being a flip-flopper on impeached judge John Hlophe.

Hlophe was impeached in February after 305 MPs voted in favour of the motion to impeach him 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.

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

It found that 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.

While some said his impeachment was long overdue, others argued that he was being targeted.

Malema at the time sent a message of support to his “brother” Hlophe, who he believed 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.”

The EFF leader was accused of being a flip-flopper for offering help to a man he had previously criticised.

In an interview with JJ Tabane on Frank Dialogue on Thursday evening, Malema said it was possible to disagree with someone and still defend them when they’re being mistreated.

“I didn’t change any views about Judge Hlophe. I’m saying to you, I can disagree with you − you and I have disagreed a lot, but we’re not far apart now. It does not make me a flip-flopper,” said Malema.

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

“You got exposed to certain things and appreciation and you were like ‘okay, it looks like there can be something out of this’. Hlophe was treated unfairly. Despite whatever I said about him, he did not deserve that kind of punishment. I disagreed with him, but you can’t say a judge who says ‘we’re relying on you guys’ and say that’s an impeachable offence.

“I did not disagree with Judge Hlope for him to die. I’m going to disagree with a lot of people politically, but when you unfairly treat them, I will never agree with that. I will defend your rights,” Malema said.