Mzansi's legal eagle

By Drum Digital
27 October 2010

IF EVER there was a high-profile murder case guaranteed to put a lawyer’s name on the map it would be Eugene Terre’blanche’s one. The slaying of the AWB leader is one of the major news stories of 2010 and the man sitting at his gleaming mahogany desk is defending the 15-year-old youth accused of the murder.

Not that he needs any exposure. Although he hates the term “celebrity lawyer” that’s undoubtedly what Zola Majavu has become. The bespectacled 42-year-old is the go-to guy when you’re in a pickle – just ask Thuso Motaung and his wife, Mmamontha.The former Lesedi MF announcers were accused of defrauding the SABC of more than R32 million and the couple nearly lost everything after they were arrested by the Scorpions. However, after Zola – or Zoux as his friends call him – came to their rescue the charges were dropped.

Yet while he may be a tough-talking, nononsense guy when it comes to legal matters he’s actually one big softie, he tells us. “People may be surprised to find that I cry easily. I’m actually quite emotional. When I won Thuso’s case I cried tears of joy.”

Whether he’ll emerge victorious after the Terre’blanche case remains to be seen, however. He has offered his services – for free – to the 15-year-old accused of bludgeoning the right-winger to death on his farm in Ventersdorp on the Easter weekend.

The youth and his co-accused, Chris Mahlangu, will go on trial on 22 November and the eyes of the nation will on the Pretoria High Court as gruesome details of the farmer’s last minutes are heard.

Zola will do what he always tries to do, he says – concentrate on the case, not the personalities. This is exactly what he did when he was recently called on by one of his other clients, 25-year-old mining magnate Dr Mandla Lamba.

Mandla was arrested at Cresta Shopping Centre in Jozi after police were incorrectly informed that he was a suspect in a murder and robbery.

Zola wrote a scathing letter to the commander of the Linden police station, threatening to grill him in court if he didn’t release his client’s cellphone which had been confiscated. No sooner had the lawyer stepped in than the error was resolved.

Zola is unfazed by Mandla’s status in the business world. “Mandla is my client,” he says with a shrug. “I didn’t know he was a billionaire until I read it in the newspapers.” He’s hoping to take his standing in the legal fraternity to new levels as he recently completed his training as a judge and is waiting to hear about his deployment to the High Court. First, though, he has to face a judge as he defends his teenage client in one of Mzansi’s murder trials of the decade.

THE law business has clearly been good to Zola. The headquarters of Majavu Inc are in a renovated mansion in Mondeor, south of Joburg, and we’re led by a smart young candidate attorney to the boss’s huge and exquisitely furnished office and lounge area.

He’s sitting in a leather armchair behind his imposing desk, immaculately clad in an Etienne Aigner shirt, red tie and well-pressed trousers. The man, it has to be said, is a dandy. “You only look like a winner if you feel like a winner,” he remarks.

Read the full article in DRUM of 4 Novemebr 2010

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