Impeached judge Hlophe calls for expropriation of land

Published Jun 24, 2024


Impeached former Western Cape judge president John Hlophe has called for the return of land to black people.

Speaking at the launch of the African Legal Professionals Association at Blue Waters Hotel in Durban, Hlophe said the land in South Africa belongs to black people and they have every right to own it.

In April 2021 the Judicial Conduct Tribunal found him guilty of gross misconduct which resulted in his impeachment in February this year.

He was removed from his judicial position after 305 MPs voted in favour of his impeachment, with 25 opposing. Hlophe had faced allegations dating back to 2008. The 65-year-old, who holds a PhD in law, was once celebrated as a beacon of black excellence in the judiciary.

Hlophe, who had attempted to interdict Parliament from removing him from office, was accused by the Constitutional Court Justices of attempting to influence that court’s judgment in the matters involving former president Jacob Zuma in 2008.

Hlophe will be the second person impeached by Parliament only to return to the national legislature as a public representative. Former public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who was impeached last year, is now an EFF MP.

Hlophe will make a dramatic comeback as an MP, where he will be the parliamentary leader for the uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP).

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

Among the 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.

Speaking in Zulu, Hlophe said it irritates him when “clever blacks” ask them what are they going to do with the land. Hlophe added that former president Thabo Mbeki’s brother and political commentator Moeletsi Mbeki should not be asking what black people would do with the land as they lived in urban areas.

“We need land, land is our pride as black people. Moeletsi Mbeki once wrote on social media and said black people want the land but they do not even know what they are going to do with it. That comment really irritated me. People who do not believe in our cause of returning the land must leave us alone.

“This is our land and we will continue to fight for it. People forget that living in suburbs and paying rates is the consequence of colonisation and land dispossession. We really need our land. It has been too long without it,” Hlophe said to loud cheers from the crowd.

Hlophe also pleaded for the unity of Zulu people in KZN, irrespective of their political affiliations and their ethnic group, saying if you live in KZN “you are regarded as Zulu”.

He also touched on the Ingonyama Trust, saying it must be left alone as one of the advantages of living on Ingonyama Trust land was to be able to practise subsistence farming.

Hlophe also took a jab at the Government of National Unity and Government of Provincial Unity, saying it will not last.

“Zulu people, I am pleading with you to stay united and do not put politics first, whether you are MKP, IFP or ANC, you are still Zulu,” Hlophe said. He will be among the 58 MKP members who will be sworn in tomorrow after missing the first National Assembly sitting.

The Mercury