Judge’s son back in court

Sunday Times - - Front Page - By PHILANI NOMBEMBE

● Dead­beat dads are a se­ri­ous prob­lem, but delin­quent chil­dren can be just as grim.

Western Cape Judge Pres­i­dent John Hlophe’s son is the latest to en­grave his name on the list of chil­dren whose ac­tions have left their high-pro­file par­ents red-faced.

Hlophe joins a num­ber of em­i­nent South Africans who have faced the same fa­mil­ial and PR night­mare, in­clud­ing No­bel peace prize lau­re­ates Arch­bishop Emer­i­tus Des­mond Tutu and for­mer pres­i­dents FW de Klerk and Nel­son Man­dela.

Af­ter be­ing ar­rested in Cape Town in De­cem­ber, Thuthuka Hlophe, 35, is fac­ing fraud charges for the sec­ond time in less than 10 years.

In another con­tro­versy, the judge pres­i­dent was taken to task in 2006 when it emerged that a lead­ing law firm, Smith Ta­bata Buchanan Boyes, had awarded Thuthuka a bur­sary to study law at the Univer­sity of Cape Town.

The firm said there was noth­ing “sin­is­ter” about the handout.

The UCT dropout’s love for the finer things in life landed him in hot water in 2009 when he bought a R400 000 BMW 330i us­ing fake cheques.

He also duped a friend into giv­ing him R8 000 in the mis­taken be­lief that a cheque Thuthuka had de­posited into the friend’s ac­count would not bounce.

And he used his cousin’s iden­tity to ap­ply for a loan from Capitec Bank, pro­duc­ing a fake payslip.

The Bel­lville Re­gional Court con­victed him of fraud in a plea and sen­tenc­ing agree­ment with the state and he was slapped with a R10 000 fine and a sus­pended three-year sen­tence in 2012. He ex­pressed re­morse for his ac­tions.

Dur­ing his bail ap­pli­ca­tion last week,

I humbly re­quest . . . bail as it is in the in­ter­est of jus­tice Thuthuka Hlophe Judge pres­i­dent’s son and fraud ac­cused

Thuthuka ap­peared in the Cape Town Mag­is­trate’s Court dock along­side Tan­diswa Fal­tein, 33.

Pros­e­cu­tor Adiel Jansen did not re­veal much about the case but told the court it re­lated to the use of a dead per­son’s bank card.

The case was post­poned to March for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Western Cape po­lice spokesman Lieu­tenant-Colonel An­drè Traut said: “A 35-yearold man and a 33-year-old fe­male were ar­rested . . . by Mil­ner­ton po­lice on a charge of fraud.

“The case is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion and the finer as­pects thereof can­not be dis­closed at this stage.”

In court pa­pers, Thuthuka said he was an “on­line stock­bro­ker” who earned R40 000 a month. He said he had en­rolled for a BCom de­gree at UCT but did not com­plete it.

“I am not mar­ried but have been in a longterm re­la­tion­ship for nine years and I am en­gaged. I also have a one-year-old daugh­ter. I wish to in­form the hon­ourable court that I have pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions . . . for which I was sen­tenced to three years sus­pended for three years,” his af­fi­davit reads.

“I wish to bring the court’s at­ten­tion that I will plead not guilty to the charges in this case. I deny hav­ing com­mit­ted the of­fences as al­leged in the charge sheet.

“The in­ves­ti­ga­tion in this mat­ter is on­go­ing and still has to be fol­lowed by trial. There is no in­di­ca­tion that this mat­ter will be fi­nalised in the near fu­ture and my fur­ther in­car­cer­a­tion is de­pri­va­tion of my lib­erty. I humbly re­quest the hon­ourable court to grant me bail as it is in the in­ter­est of jus­tice.”

Thuthuka, from Som­er­set West, was re­leased on R5 000 bail and or­dered to sur­ren­der his pass­port and re­port to Strand po­lice sta­tion twice a week.

His lawyer, Ni­cholas Knapp, said: “I am re­stricted in what I can and can­not say.”

Pic­ture: Vathiswa Ruselo

Nel­son Man­dela’s grand­son Mbuso Man­dela, who in 2015 was ac­cused of rap­ing a 15-year-old. In an af­fi­davit at the time, he said he was un­em­ployed, had two chil­dren and was ex­pect­ing another one. He asked the court not to treat him as ‘a Man­dela’ but...

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