South Africa

Impeached judge John Hlophe to lead MK party in parliament

John Hlophe MK party

Impeached Western Cape High Court judge John Hlophe will make a comeback as a Member of Parliament set to lead the uMkhonto weSizwe party.

The detail was revealed in an internal MK party memo sent by the party’s secretary-general, Arthur Zwane, on Thursday.

Among other issues, the letter informed chief whips Hlophe and Sihle Ngubane of the communication from parliament regarding the allocation of funds to the party’s representation in parliament.

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“We are at a critical stage in the structuring of our party’s administrative and financial operations,” reads the memo.

The MK party got 58 seats in parliament and became the country’s third-largest party in the national and provincial elections on 29 May.

It, however, shunned parliament’s first sitting where MPs were sworn in.

Hlophe impeachment

Hlophe was impeached in February after 305 MPs voted in favour and 27 against him, 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).

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

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He was suspended by President Cyril Ramaphosa in December 2022.

Hlophe was the first judge since democracy to be impeached. 

His impeachment earned both celebrations and anger, with EFF leader Julius Malema visiting the former judge at his home.

Malema believed Hlophe 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,” he said at the time.

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

“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.”