- The Legal Practice Council has gone to court in a bid to have advocate Malesela Teffo disbarred.
- Teffo, in his heads of argument, accused the court of bias.
- He claimed there would be unrest should he be struck from the roll of advocates.
Advocate Malesela Teffo warned there would be “serious unrest in the country” if he was struck from the roll of advocates.
This was contained in Teffo’s heads of argument in response to an application, which was heard earlier this month in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, by the Legal Practice Council (LPC) that he should be disbarred.
The LPC argued there were at least 22 allegations of misconduct against Teffo, including disrespectful and contemptuous behaviour in court, misleading the court, assault, and the misappropriation of money from clients.
Apart from a blanket denial of the allegations, Teffo focused on having the matter either postponed or dismissed.
His submissions included that his constitutional rights were being violated; there were conflicting case numbers; he was not aware of the application; and the LPC never informed him of the complaints nor offered him an opportunity to respond before being hauled before the court.
In his papers, Teffo accused the court, without providing any evidence, of bias and collusion by the parties involved in the matter.
Kangaroo court and bias
Teffo started off by referring to the court as a kangaroo court, which typically meant an unauthorised court or official presiding over a matter, with the intent of finding someone guilty without regard for the evidence.
This was seemingly a jibe at the court when, after judgment was reserved in a matter, Teffo continued to make arguments, but was stopped midway as the court adjourned.
“I felt vindicated that the two judges had proven they carried the mandate of their bosses, namely Deputy Judge Presidents of Pretoria and Johannesburg, Messrs Ledwaba and Sutherland.”
Teffo then claimed that his rights, as envisioned by Section 35 of the Constitution, were violated. These provisions refer to the rights of an accused, arrested or detained person.
The LPC had previously pointed out to the court that Teffo was not an accused, but a respondent in a civil matter, so his referring to Section 35 had no bearing on the case.
Despite this, Teffo included this argument in his heads and again took a swipe at the judges.
“Therefore, the gross violation of the above-mentioned constitutional rights of the respondent had immensely relegated the supposedly high standards of the esteemed judges of the high court and the court of equity to nothing but a kangaroo court at its worst.”
Teffo then inexplicably referred to the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, where he represented four of the accused before withdrawing as counsel.
Without providing evidence, Teffo claimed that both the ANC and EFF were interfering with the case – and he took it one step further by alleging that an advisor to President Cyril Ramaphosa had met with “certain senior judges to connive against me”.
Teffo had previously claimed a plan had been hatched in Ramaphosa’s office to have him removed from the trial. However, Teffo has, so far, not provided a single shred of evidence to back up his claims.
He also took a stab at EFF leader Julius Malema, who had previously questioned Teffo’s ability as defence counsel in the Meyiwa case.
“The so-called Legal Practice Council hearing, which resembled a kangaroo court, has been influenced by these dirty politics and the Minister of Police Bheki Cele played a serious role politically,” Teffo claimed.
In his application, Teffo warned the court not to make findings against him.
Teffo added that the family of the men accused of murdering the former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper had pinned their hopes on him representing them, and that South Africans were hoping that Teffo would expose a corrupt relationship between the police and NPA.
Teffo is no longer a defence counsel in the matter.
In the most recent court appearance, it was placed on record that the instructing attorney, TT Thobane, would continue with the trial.
In conclusion, Teffo again alluded to the possibility of unrest if he was disbarred.
“In light of the above paragraphs, any adverse finding against advocate Malesela Teffo will set the whole country on fire. Our African Arab spring may be inevitable, as stated by former state president Thabo Mbeki recently.
“Therefore, the decision-makers in this regard must not allow their emotions to take charge of them, for the sake of peace and justice in the country.”