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Senzo Meyiwa trial: ’Flip-flopping’ advocate Teffo may not be accepted back by court

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According to legal expert Zola Majavu, advocate Malesela Teffo would still have to go before Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela to explain himself.

Advocate Malesela Teffo during the Senzo Meyiwa trial at the Pretoria High Court. File Picture: Oupa Mokoena/ African News Agency (ANA)

ADVOCATE Malesela Teffo, representing four of the men accused in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, has again set tongues wagging for flip flopping.

In an unexpected U-turn, Teffo announced on Thursday that he was back as counsel for Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Mncube and Mthokoziseni Maphisa.

Teffo quit the trial last month claiming he was being harassed by Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the police.

In a letter addressed to State advocate George Baloyi, Teffo has demanded that Kelly Khumalo be prosecuted for the murder and for Police Minister Bheki Cele to be dismissed and investigated for abuse of his powers. He said Judge Maumela had been bewitching him and had brought a sangoma to court in an attempt to “destabilise” him.

Teffo further alleged that the Meyiwa family were considering legal action against both Kelly and Zandile Khumalo for their utterances during recent media interviews where they pointed fingers at the Meyiwa family.

The advocate further alleged that he was informed by accused number four’s sister, Sinqobile Maphisa, as well Sifiso Meyiwa that Advocate Mshololo who represents accused number five, Sifisokuhle Ntuli, had approached Durban taxi bosses to pay her legal fees for accused one to four since he no longer represented them.

He also told Baloyi that on Tuesday his clients would be a no show in court until his demands were met.

“Be informed that I am not going to withdraw in this matter and give the State undeserved due. We have since resolved my withdrawal issue with the relevant stakeholders in this matter and I am still the defence counsel for accused one to four,” said Teffo.

According to a legal expert, Zola Majavu, Teffo would still have to go before Judge Maumela to explain himself.

“When a representative of any party before the court withdraws and the court accepts that withdrawal and you are excused, that is the end of it. If for whatever reason he contends that he is back, it is not automatic,.

“He will have to go before the court and say whatever issues that led to his withdrawal have now been resolved, and depending on what he says before the court, he may be readmitted,” he said.

Majavu explained that Teffo had raised substantive issues which, if investigated and were proven true, it would mean the trial had been muddied.

“We are not dealing with a lawyer who withdrew because his fees were unpaid. If that were the case, it would be easy to come back and the court would want a guarantee that he has sufficient cover so that this does not reoccur, resulting in a withdrawal.

“Does he still regard the same judge as accused number one? Does he still believe that there are plots of the highest level against him in the country to an extent that they affect his ability as counsel to represent his clients? All those issues have not been resolved,” he said.

Sinqobile Maphisa, a sister to one of the accused, said they were happy to have Teffo back because they believed in him, but wanted Judge Maumela to recuse himself “to prevent innocent men from being sent to jail for a murder they did not commit”.

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