Civil society organisation Judges Matter has called for advocate Malesela Teffo to immediately withdraw his “shocking” comments about the presiding judge in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, Tshifhiwa Maumela.
Teffo, who had previously withdrawn from representing four accused in the murder trial, announced his return to the matter last week.
Last week, the advocate, who was previously a police officer, said he has not abandoned his clients.
He now intends to get justice for them by securing the arrests of the seven people, including singer Kelly Khumalo, her sister Zandile and their mother, who were “present in the Vosloorus house and witnessed the murder”.
In a letter addressed to the Director of Public Prosecutions for the North Gauteng High Court Division, Teffo made a number of accusations against Maumela, advocate Zandile Mshololo — counsel for the other accused, Fisokuhle Ntuli — and the prosecution. He also alleged that “a sangoma linked to Maumela was on a mission to cause him to collapse inside the court”.
Judges Matter said it “condemns in the strongest terms these attacks against the judiciary as an institution, and judge Maumela specifically”.
The organisation said most troubling is that Teffo’s allegations are based on speculation and conjecture, and he puts up no evidence to support them.
Alison Tilley, co-ordinator of Judges Matter, said it is important to emphasise that as a legal practitioner and officer of the court, Teffo took an oath to uphold the constitution and the law, and promote the proper administration of justice.
Tilley said the allegations made in his July 25 letter bring the administration of justice into disrepute and constitute a serious breach of professional legal ethics.
“The statements made in advocate Teffo’s letter are a shocking attack on judge Maumela and should be immediately withdrawn. It is deeply distressing that they come from a legal practitioner, as advocates hold a special duty to protect the dignity, reputation and effectiveness of the courts,” said Tilley.
Senzo Meyiwa who was a goalkeeper for Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates was shot dead in October 2014 while at musician Kelly Khumalo's mother's house in Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni. The two were in a relationship and had a child. Khumalo and others in the house at the time claimed Meyiwa was killed in a robbery gone wrong.
The matter is expected to resume on Tuesday in the Pretoria high court.
The advocate, who has caused a stir with his unconventional conduct in the Pretoria High Court, withdrew from the case on Tuesday citing harassment from the State and the court. He said a plan to harass him was devised in the office of President Cyril Ramaphosa. The presidency rejected the claim. Shortly after his withdrawal, Teffo said he was aggrieved and that the decision to withdraw was not an easy one.
He accused Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela of being biased and unprofessional and said he refused to be a part of a system that had become a circus.
“There is a trial of seven people that should come but the court doesn't want us to go there. I am now going to pay full attention to case 375,” he said.
Case 375 is the second Meyiwa case opened in 2019 led by Lieutenant Joyce Buthelezi. The investigation concluded that there was no intruder, but that there were eight adults in the house including the deceased.
“The current docket was quashed and they brought it to life because they want to protect the people who were in that house.
“The house is being protected like a national key point. If Parliament was named after the lady in that house, that parliament would not have burned down because the name of this lady is so protected,” Teffo said.
Meanwhile, Advocate Malesela Teffo has had a change of heart and decided he will continue to represent four of the suspects in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, but there are conditions.
It emerged yesterday that Teffo wrote to the high court to notify it he will continue representing accused numbers one to four.
His demands include that Police Minister Bheki Cele be fired and Meyiwa’s former girlfriend Kelly Khumalo be prosecuted.
Last month, Teffo, who was the advocate for the first four accused, said he would bring an eyewitness who would testify how it was Khumalo who pulled the trigger of a revolver that killed Meyiwa.
“The firearm used to shoot Senzo Robert Meyiwa by Kelly Khumalo came with Logwe Twala.”
He introduced this version of events by a witness who has not yet been called to the stand while cross-examining the State's first witness in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday morning.
Teffo said the witness would testify that Senzo Meyiwa was killed by Kelly Khumalo, using a revolver that belonged to Longwe Twala.
Longwe, the son of musician Chicco Twala, was one of the people at the house on the night of the shooting. Longwe had been dating Khumalo's sister, Zandie, at the time.
According to Teffo, a plan was hatched at the meeting to conceal the truth about Meyiwa's death and stage the scene so that those in the house would not be held responsible.