THE CURSE OF A WAYWARD CHILD
Judge’s son back in court
● 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.”