LETTER: Hlophe’s ‘illegal’ entry

by | Jul 3, 2024 | Chapter 9, General | 0 comments

Your thoughtful editorial opinion on the entry into parliament of the former and recently impeached Cape judge president, John Hlophe, deserves a little fleshing out for further consideration (“The politics of vengeance”, June 25).

A learned legal academic, Loammi Wolf, is of the opinion that Hlophe’s entry into politics amounts to illegal “candidate rigging” because the MK party was not entitled in law to adjust its candidate list to secure his entry into politics.

Hlophe did not feature on the party’s official IEC-endorsed list of candidates. This point is one for the IEC to consider, and if so advised to act on too. If, as Wolf suggests, an own goal has been scored by MK, the IEC needs to chalk it up on the results board it keeps. Baiting the electorate with one set of candidates and switching to another is not the stuff of free and fair elections.

The long and chequered track record of Hlophe is also vulnerable to proper scrutiny by the criminal justice administration. There is at least a prima facie case against Hlophe for tax evasion in the way he dealt with the proceeds of his moonlighting activities for entities run by the Oasis group while he was on the bench. The evasion appears even from his own “I received an amnesty” response to the complaint filed by the ACDP with the Judicial Service Commission.

When questioned by Craig Howie, then president of the Supreme Court of Appeal, during the disciplinary inquiry, Hlophe was particularly evasive. A later incident in Hlophe’s chambers suggests a viable charge of crimen injuria after he called a hapless young attorney a “piece of white shit” and advised him to “go back to Holland”, a place the attorney had never visited. Hardly the utterance of one committed to nonracial democracy under the rule of law.

The drawn-out case that occasioned Hlophe’s impeachment contains evidence on oath of his attempting to defeat the ends of justice and being in contempt of court during his escapades on Constitution Hill in the chambers of junior justices there. He has made demonstrably false denials in respect of the charges he would face if there was a functioning criminal justice administration in SA. Hlophe’s parliamentary oath of office is also prima facie perjurious as he regards the law he swears to uphold as what he publicly calls a “shitstem”.

Parliament, especially the seventh parliament, has many pressing problems to address. The best possible candidates should populate its benches and all should be legally elected.

Paul Hoffman
Director, Accountability Now

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