Tweets shake up Joburg Bar members

2013-04-28 14:00

A Johannesburg advocate has ­narrowly escaped landing in hot water over comments he made on Twitter.

Vuyani Ngalwana, who is representing the police at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry, sparked a quiet controversy at the Johannesburg Bar after he tweeted comments that were critical of other advocates at the commission, including struggle icon George Bizos, who is representing the Legal Resources Centre and the Bench Marks Foundation at the commission.

In October last year, Ngalwana tweeted: “I think Bizos SC has lost it. He’s asking rhetorical questions that have already been answered in SAPS (SA Police Service) ­statement.”

Two weeks earlier, he tweeted: “The Marikana Commission seems to be used by counsel as a popularity parade, each counsel speaking for the sake of speaking.”

Four advocates, who asked to ­remain anonymous, confirmed that Ngalwana’s comments had sparked outrage among some members of the Johannesburg Bar, which regulates the profession in the city.

A complaint against Ngalwana was lodged with the professional committee of the Johannesburg Bar.

The complaint led to committee chairperson Roshan Bedhesi warning members of the Bar about the “wide circulation and impact” of tweets and Facebook messages.

Bedhesi was quoted in The Times as saying members of the Bar should desist from making ­“inappropriate statements” on ­social networking platforms ­because this was a breach of ­professional rules.

The rules do not allow members to write articles in nonlegal publications about pending cases.

City Press understands that a ­report recommended disciplinary steps be taken against Ngalwana, but the committee elected not to proceed with the complaint because Ngalwana was not given an opportunity to respond to the allegations against him.

Contacted for comment, Bedhesi would only say that the “professional committee has decided not to proceed with that complaint”.

Ngalwana said he knew of “no complaint pending against me at the Bar”.

The offending tweets have been deleted from Ngalwana’s Twitter feed.

Bizos said Ngalwana apologised to him shortly after making the statement on Twitter.

“I didn’t take it seriously and I thanked him for his apology.

“I think that he has learnt his ­lesson and that we must move ­forward,” said Bizos.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.