Teffo can no longer play role in Meyiwa murder trial after being struck from advocates' roll

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Malesela Teffo is seen during the trial into the murder of Senzo Meyiwa in the Gauteng High Court.
Malesela Teffo is seen during the trial into the murder of Senzo Meyiwa in the Gauteng High Court.
PHOTO: Alet Pretorius, Gallo Images
  • Malesela Teffo was struck from the roll of advocates by the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
  • The court found he had misled the courts and misappropriated funds from clients, among other instances of misconduct.
  • Teffo is also no longer able to act as a watching brief in a legal capacity in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial.

Malesela Teffo can no longer hold any legal role, including being a watching brief in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, after being struck from the roll of advocates.

Teffo was disbarred by the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria and ordered to surrender and deliver his certificate of enrolment as a legal practitioner to the court's registrar.

Following an application by the Legal Practice Council (LPC), the court found he lacked a sense of responsibility, honesty, integrity and no longer met the threshold of a fit and proper person.

This after the court accepted that Teffo:
  • Misled the courts on numerous occasions.
  • Misappropriated funds from clients, which the court said was tantamount to theft.
  • Unlawfully took briefs directly from clients.
  • Did not cooperate with the LPC after it received complaints against him.
  • Breached a court interdict.

It also remarked on Teffo's disrespectful and contemptuous behaviour during legal proceedings and found he had no regard for justice.

The court appointed LPC Gauteng director Johan van Staden as the curator to administer and control Teffo's banking accounts, which he used as a legal practitioner.

Rise and fall

Teffo ascended to the spotlight after becoming involved in the murder case of former Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Meyiwa, who was shot and killed in 2014 in the Vosloorus home of his girlfriend, Kelly Khumalo.

He initially held a watching brief for Meyiwa's brother, Sifiso. 

ALSO READ | Teffo disbarred after court finds he lacks integrity, no longer meets threshold of fit, proper persona

A watching brief is held by a lawyer who effectively represents a client, albeit not directly in a criminal or civil case. Watching briefs are often held in cases where the client has an interest but is not directly involved.

While holding a watching brief for Sifiso, Teffo was then briefed to represent four of the men accused of murdering Meyiwa.

During the trial, he rose to infamy for his in-court antics and stern belief the accused before court were not guilty, but rather those in the house at the time when Meyiwa was shot should be arrested and charged.

Before the cross-examination of the State’s first witness was concluded, Teffo withdrew as defence counsel, claiming he was being harassed by the court, police and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

To date, he has not provided any evidence or substantiation to support the claim. 

Following his withdrawal, Teffo said he would continue as a watching brief for Sifiso on the second docket pertaining to Meyiwa's murder.

News24 previously reported the police investigated and compiled two different dockets. The first docket is currently before court, while the second reportedly came to different findings and a complete different set of suspects.

Teffo's legal standing

Criminal law expert, Professor Stephen Tuson, said Teffo was no longer an officer of the court and as a result could not practise as an attorney or advocate, including holding a watching brief.

Another criminal law expert, Dr Llewelyn Curlewis, added that because Teffo had no right of appearance in any court, he could not hold a watching brief in a legal capacity.

Tuson said Teffo would no longer be able to represent clients in court nor could he dispense legal advice for money.

Curlewis held the same view, adding Teffo would not be able to invoice clients as a lawyer even if he did give them advice.

Teffo will, however, still be able to represent people in labour-related cases before the CCMA, but not in the Labour Court.



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