- Malesela Teffo is representing four of the men accused of murdering Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa.
- His warrant of arrest was issued on 27 January 2022 and authorised by the Hillbrow Magistrate's Court, after he allegedly did not appear in court for an assault case.
- According to police, Teffo had been arrested for allegedly assaulting a female officer and entering a police office in Gauteng in contravention of a high court interdict prohibiting him from entering the building.
Was advocate Malesela Teffo caught out in a lie when he claimed his arrest warrant was fraudulent and he knew nothing about the court date he missed?
Teffo, who is representing four of the men accused of murdering Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, was arrested on Thursday afternoon at the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
He was cuffed and taken down to the court's holding cells moments after the Meyiwa murder trial was postponed. The arrest was made in full view of the media.
ANALYSIS | Senzo Meyiwa: The way Teffo was arrested adds fuel to perceptions of police interference
The warrant of arrest, authorised by the Hillbrow Magistrate's Court, was executed after Teffo allegedly failed to appear in court for a separate case in which he is an accused.
The warrant was issued, signed and stamped on 27 January 2022 after he allegedly did not appear in court for an assault case.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the warrant was then held over to 10 February 2022. However, Teffo did not appear in court on that date either.
Teffo's claims about his arrest
Following his arrest, Teffo told the SABC he had a cancellation of a warrant of arrest on 28 December 2021 and was not aware he was supposed to be in court on 27 January 2022.
He said he was arrested and charged with trespassing in 2020 and the charge was withdrawn following the representations he made.
READ | Teffo arrest opens Meyiwa trial to speculation, says Legal Practice Council
"This arrest is nothing else but the concern of Bheki Cele [minister of police] and the national commissioner about my involvement in this Senzo Meyiwa matter. They know what is going to come out for them," Teffo told the SABC in a voice note.
He also told SAFM the arrest warrant used on Thursday was fraudulent and repeated he had one cancelled in 2021.
On Friday, Teffo appeared in the Hillbrow Magistrate's Court.
His attorney, TT Thobane, initially told the court Teffo was unaware of the court date, which was why he failed to appear on 27 January.
However, after consulting with Teffo, he then changed the story, claiming his client had failed to appear because he was experiencing Covid-19 symptoms.
The magistrate pointed out he was the presiding officer when the postponement of 27 January was made in the presence of Teffo and his attorney.
This statement was not challenged by Teffo's attorney, despite Teffo telling the SABC he was not aware of the court date.
It is clear he did not stick to the claim he was unaware of the court date, and instead gave his attorney the instruction he failed to appear because he had Covid-19 symptoms, inferring he was aware of the date all along.
The court noted neither Teffo nor his attorney informed the court about him being unable to appear due to presenting with Covid-19 symptoms.
Thobane also told the court Teffo did not appear in court on 10 February because the investigating officer allegedly told him and his attorney to go to the Johannesburg Regional Court.
Teffo was granted bail of R10 000.
Furthermore, while he said the arrest warrant was fraudulent on the eve of his arrest, it was not disputed or challenged in court the following day.
READ | Timing of Teffo's arrest at Meyiwa trial aimed at 'humiliating' him, advocates' body suggests
It can be deduced had the warrant of arrest been fraudulent, Teffo, who is an advocate, would have challenged its validity in court, instead of accepting he was legally arrested and brought to court.
His claim that a warrant of arrest was cancelled on 28 December 2021 is true, but the way he portrayed it to the media may have been disingenuous, as the warrant he was arrested with on Thursday had nothing to do with the previous warrant of arrest.
According to the NPA, a warrant of arrest was issued on 24 November but stayed over to 28 December, where it was cancelled as Teffo appeared in court.
Police have also claimed Teffo was aware the latest arrest warrant had been issued as he contacted the investigating officer. Police said they have proof in this regard but have not made it public.
He also told media houses he was arrested on a trespassing case, but the charge had been withdrawn following legal presentations.
It appears as though Teffo only told the media houses half the story. It is true his representations were successful on the trespassing charge and it was subsequently withdrawn. However, he still faces an assault charge, which the NPA confirmed had not been withdrawn.
Police said Teffo had been arrested for allegedly assaulting a female officer and entering a police office in Gauteng in contravention of a high court interdict prohibiting him from entering the building.
Never miss a story. Choose from our range of newsletters to get the news you want delivered straight to your inbox.