‘Flip-flop’ or change of mind? SA reacts to Malema supporting Hlophe to become next chief justice
EFF leader Julius Malema’s praise of Western Cape judge president John Hlophe has left many raising their eyebrows, with some online calling him “the ultimate flip-flopper”.
This week, in an interview on SABC News, Malema threw his weight behind Hlophe for the position of chief justice, despite his previous stance regarding him.
Hlophe is among eight candidates, including advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane and deputy chief justice Raymond Zondo, who have been nominated for the position to replace outgoing chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.
Malema said Hlope was the most “highly qualified” candidate on the list with the “best legal brain”.
“Hlophe is a man of integrity, highly qualified [and] presided over the most difficult division of the judiciary in the Western Cape. It is not only the most difficult division but it is also the most racist, with a racist government, yet the man survived,” said Malema.
During a media briefing in 2017, Malema vowed he EFF would remove Hlophe from the judiciary because he was a threat, suggesting he was a “rotten potato”.
“In the Western Cape, that judge president Hlope is the most worrying thing about our judiciary,” Malema said at the time.
“You always get those rotten potatoes that want to spoil the whole bag. It’s the EFF’s job to remove those rotten potatoes and we will do that even in the judiciary. The judiciary must never think it is untouchable.”
On social media, many weighed in, with the video of Malema criticising Hlophe making the rounds on Twitter.
Here is a snapshot of what many had to say:
EFF Julius Malema....Judge John Hlophe is a rotten potatoe,a threat to our judiciary integrity,its the EFF job to remove those rotten potatoes— Daniel black (@truthispower10) October 6, 2021
Julius Malema...Judge Hlophe is highly qualified,has done nothing wrong,EFF will never support the removal of Hlophe
JUDGE FOR YOURSELF pic.twitter.com/Ol9yrO5mBi
You guys are divas. Malema made it clear that he Hlophe was the best in that list.— Siyanda Jola (@siyanda_jola) October 7, 2021
There's no flip flopping. This simply means that Malema doesn't take things personal and is objective. He can put differences aside. He was referring to that specific list. Relax pic.twitter.com/wyyRZRgKor
Malema has thrown his weight behind John Hlophe for #ChiefJustice position. No surprises there. EFF has entrenched itself as ANC’s RET faction trying to upstage the real RET led by the Ace, Andile Lungisa, and Tony Yengeni. He has realized that EFF can’t grow from 10% to 50%.— John Baloyi (@Dijosti) October 5, 2021
Still the bottom line is that judges do discuss cases,that one is no longer in dispute,Malema made reference to a particular moment where in the interview a judge conceded to this after hearing something in the lift. JP Hlophe must lead as at the Concourt taking over from Mogweng— Mathekga.....ke Mokone (@MathekgaBino) October 5, 2021