Zikalala eats humble pie on comments he made about lawyer

2017-08-19 22:26
Sihle Zikalala (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Sihle Zikalala (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban - ANC chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala, on Saturday said he regretted the impression created by comments he made about a lawyer during High Court proceedings in Pietermaritzburg this week.

The court case pushing for the scrapping of the KwaZulu-Natal ANC's 8th provincial elective conference in November 2015 was heard in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday and Thursday.

ANC councillor Lawrence Dube and four others brought the court case against the ANC in May 2016.

Respondents in the matter include Zikalala, his deputy Willies Mchunu, the ANC itself, other top ANC figures, and the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa.

The elective conference in question saw Zikalala beat former premier Senzo Mchunu to become the provincial chairperson.

The lawyer in question was Advocate Thembeka Ngcukaitobi, who represented the applicants.

He was usually seen in courts representing the Economic Freedom Fighters.

"It's very, very disheartening that some of the comrades will go to the extent of inviting lawyers who always represent EFF to represent them today," Zikalala told his supporters outside court during the first day of the hearing.

Zikalala accused the ANC members who took the provincial executive committee to court of sharing information and colluding with those in the party who are "counter-revolutionary".

Following his comments, the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) said Zikalala had referred to Ngcukaitobi as a counter-revolutionary.

It said members of the legal profession had the right to represent any client of their choice despite that client’s political affiliation.

On Saturday evening, Zikalala said he noted Nadel’s statement and the ongoing public discussion on various media platforms.

“I welcome their comments as part of a constructive engagement and wish to make it clear that my comments were in relation to ANC comrades using someone who has consistently represented other political parties on matters relating to the ANC and its government,” he said.

“I want to reaffirm the fundamental principle of the independence of the legal profession and therefore regret the impression created by my comments.”

He said Nadel was one of the credible institutions that had made a meaningful contribution to democracy and the legal profession for many years.

“Accordingly, I have taken a decision to approach the leadership of National Association of Democratic Lawyers so that we can directly engage further on this matter.”

Judgment in the ANC court matter was reserved.

Read more on:    anc  |  sihle zikalala  |  politics

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