Zikalala faces backlash after 'half-hearted' apology

2017-08-21 14:19
ANC KZN chairperson Sihle Zikalala. (Picture: Beeld)

ANC KZN chairperson Sihle Zikalala. (Picture: Beeld)

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Johannesburg - Advocates for Transformation (AFT) rejected ANC KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala’s "half hearted" apology for his comments about a local advocate.

The organisation requested that Zikalala issue an unequivocal retraction after he seemingly inferred Advocate Thembeka Ngcukaitobi is a "counter-revolutionary".

"What concerns us the most is that the utterances of such a senior leader seek to undermine the very essence and fabric of the advocates’ profession, namely the independence of each practitioner," spokesperson Dumisa Ntsebeza said in statement on Monday.

Legal challenge

Zikalala made the comment during a court case pushing for the scrapping of the KZN ANC's 8th provincial elective conference held in November 2015, which saw Zikalala beat former premier Senzo Mchunu to become the provincial chairperson.

The applicants in the court case were represented by Ngcukaitobi, who had also worked on cases involving Economic Freedom Fighters in the past.

READ: Angry ANC KZN chair hits out over 'EFF lawyer' representing ANC members

"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 the High Court in Pietermaritzburg last week.

He also 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".

Ntsebeza said on Monday that their professional ethics entitled any person to the services of an advocate who is available to take the case. 

‘Counter-revolutionary or EFF lawyer’

"The AFT therefore objects in the strongest terms to anyone placing labels such as ‘counter-revolutionary’ or ‘EFF lawyer’ on any of its members on the basis that such member may have represented someone or some organisation."

The AFT said Zikalala’s pronouncement and his subsequent "half-hearted apology clearly betray his ignorance" of the protocols of the advocates’ profession in a democratic context where advocates are regarded as officers of the court.

"As such, it is AFT’s considered view that nothing short of an unequivocal retraction of his criticism of Ngcukaitobi for representing Zikalala’s political opponents would sufficiently exonerate him." 

READ: Lawyers association slams ANC KZN chair for 'dangerous' remarks

The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) also called on Zikalala to withdraw the comments he made about the lawyer.

Zikalala responded by explaining his comments.

"I welcome their (Nadel's) 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."

Zikalala added that he would engage directly with Nadel on the matter.

Read more on:    anc  |  eff  |  sihle zikalala  |  politics

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