Africa-Press – South-Africa. Without substantiation or giving evidence to the effect, advocate Malesela Teffo, who represented four of the accused in the Senzo Meyiwa trial, claimed a plan to harass him was hatched in the Office of President, Cyril Ramaphosa.
It was this alleged harassment that apparently led to Teffo’s withdrawal as counsel for the accused in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday.
Teffo announced his withdrawal after the court dismissed a letter by accused number three, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, who made claims regarding horrific prison conditions at Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Facility in Tshwane.
Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela allowed the letter to be read into the record and listened to Mncube testify because Teffo had told the court that it was a life-threatening issue. He inferred that Mncube was either being tortured or assaulted.
However, the crux of the issue was that Mncube allegedly did not have access to radio, television or newspapers, and was kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. He also had an issue with not being able to call his family.
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Maumela dismissed the letter as it had no impact on the case and said Teffo should raise the issue with the prison or bring a court application to challenge the conditions.
“Nothing has been forthcoming that would justify me delving into it and coming up with a ruling,” Maumela said.
Teffo, who has been at loggerheads with the court, and has been reprimanded on several different occasions, then took the opportunity to withdraw.
“It is now an opportune moment to inform this court, as the counsel for accused one to four, I hereby inform this honourable court that I am withdrawing as counsel.”
Teffo then went on a tangent, explaining why he had decided to withdraw.
“I will no longer be able to proceed in this court, based on the harassment that I am receiving from the State and from the court.”
Without substantiation or providing context, he said there were serious allegations – and also added that Maumela was “accused number one”.
Taking it one step further, Teffo claimed that his April arrest was part of a plan hatched in Ramaphosa’s office.
Teffo did not provide evidence or elaborate on this allegation.
Instead, he doubled down and claimed that the plan was to frame the accused for the murder of Meyiwa.
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He said he was harassed by the National Prosecuting Authority, police and the court for interfering with this so-called plan.
Teffo was arrested in April after a warrant of arrest was authorised by the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court when he failed to appear in court for a separate matter, for which he is an accused.
While Teffo has withdrawn as counsel, he said he would remain as a watching brief for the Meyiwa family.
However, it is understood that the watching brief is only for Meyiwa’s family because AfriForum’s private prosecution unit represents Meyiwa’s mother.
The matter has been provisionally postponed to August for four of the accused to obtain legal representation.