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John Hlophe says MK party sees itself as new official opposition and aims to abolish private land ownership – The Mail & Guardian

Hlophe has been the presiding judge of the Western Cape Division of the High Court (the most senior judge in the division) since 2000.

Former Western Cape Chief Justice John Hlophe.

Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe (MK) party considers itself the official opposition and will use that role to push for the abolition of private land ownership, its new parliamentary leader, former judge John Hlophe, said on Tuesday.

“We consider ourselves, the party, the official opposition of the country because the opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), is now part of the national unity government,” Hlophe said after being sworn in as a member of the National Party. Assembly, along with the rest of the party group.

“We are going to work very closely with other progressive opposition parties. I am referring to the EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters), the ATM (African Transformation Movement) and other progressive parties.

“We stand up for the land issue in this country and we make no apologies for it. “We want each and every South African, white or black, to have access to land.”

Hlophe stated that the MK party would work for “the restoration of African law”, particularly with regard to land.

“Land in Africa can never be privately owned. “The land belongs to the nation, it is not part of private property.”

He said he saw no reason why the premise should be considered shocking.

“And we are not alone in that sense. Look at the UK; the land in England belongs to the queen, everyone else has a 99-year lease,” added the former Western Cape chief justice and Cambridge University law graduate.

“And there is no suggestion that in England, because the land belongs to the queen, there is no suggestion that house prices have gone down. However, in Africa we are told that if we do this the rand will fall. “We have been fooled for too long.”

He said that although the MP advocated for the amendment of the Constitution, he would work within the law to achieve legislative change.

“We are not hooligans,” he told reporters.

“We are going to participate in a very firm but respectful way, but make no mistake, we are not going to allow anyone to intimidate us.”

Hlophe was impeached by parliament in February after the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) concluded that he pleaded guilty to gross misconduct. The allegation arose from his attempt in 2008 to influence two Constitutional Court judges to rule in favor of former President Zuma in cases involving charges of corruption in arms trafficking.

Asked on Tuesday whether he would agree to become a JSC commissioner when parliament appoints its representatives to the body in the coming days, Hlophe said the party had not yet made a decision.

“I think it would be premature for me to make that suggestion. Obviously I have experience. “I’ve been a judge for 29 years, so I know the system inside and out, but if there are people who are suitably qualified or who are willing to go, they will be sent.”

He said he believed there were many portfolio committees where he could apply his knowledge, including those in justice or the security group.

“There are so many committees I could be of help on.”

Hlophe was not on the party’s electoral list and his intention to join its group as an MP was announced only last week. The party’s chief whip is Sihle Ngubane.

The party won 58 seats in the National Assembly but boycotted its first session in a misguided attempt to deprive the chamber of legitimacy to re-elect Cyril Ramaphosa as president.

The group, which included Zuma’s daughter Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla and his former surprise pick as finance minister Des van Rooyen, were eventually sworn in by National Assembly Speaker Thoko Didiza and Acting Speaker of the Western Cape judge Patricia Goliath in a brief session on Tuesday. Goliath filed misconduct charges against Hlophe in 2020 that will be investigated by the Judicial Conduct Tribunal.

Hlophe said the fact that MK MPs had been sworn in did not mean the party was abandoning its legal challenge to the May election result and, by extension, the composition of the chamber.

“We are convinced that these elections were rigged, that is our case, and the case has been brought to the appropriate forums,” he said.

The party has claimed in documents filed with the electoral court that had there been no electoral fraud, it would “in all likelihood” have won an absolute majority in the elections.

Hlophe said he was grateful to Zuma for founding the MK party because they shared the view that the ANC had lost its way.

“(It) has gone completely off track. It is not the ANC we knew, particularly over the last five years under the leadership of Cyril Ramaphosa. “This is no longer the ANC that fights for the poor.”

He made it clear that MK planned to position himself as the defender of the poor.

“We are not here for positions, we are not here for power. We, as representatives, are here to serve the poor of this country, whether they are white or black.”

He predicted that Ramaphosa’s national unity government will be plagued by conflict stemming from ideological divisions between the ANC and the DA.

“To be fair to them, clearly we are going to have teething problems, but clearly there will be uncertainty; “It seems that there will be more uncertainty than unity.”

He said the MK party had not yet decided whether it would support the EFF’s call to revive the report of a section 89 panel that recommended Ramaphosa face impeachment on charges arising from the theft of foreign currency at his Phala game farm. Phala.

“But it is an issue that remains on the agenda as far as the parties are concerned and it is a serious issue, because I think the president got his way, he has been getting his way.”

MPs who were sworn in also included former ANC sports, arts and culture minister Zizi Kodwa, who faces corruption charges. Kodwa resigned from his position after being charged, and on Tuesday did not answer questions about his late swearing-in, other than to say, “This was the only opportunity available.”

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