Tag Archives: South Africa

South Africa: Six men arrested for murder of young lawyer in Pietermaritzburg

September 13, 2019

Mluleki Msomi (24) was a candidate attorney at Austen Smith Attorneys in Pietermaritzburg.

Six suspects were arrested in connection with the murder of a candidate attorney outside the Saki Pacific Grill restaurant on Victoria Road in Pietermaritzburg in the early hours of Friday.

Police spokesperson Sgt Mthokozisi Ngobese said the victim, Mluleki Msomi, 25, was attending a function in the area and went outside at about 1am to sit inside his white Toyota double cab bakkie.

“He was approached by two people and gunshots were fired. The deceased died on the scene.”

The first two suspects were arrested near the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg with a gun and bloody clothes.

The victim’s vehicle was recovered on Milner Road where another suspect was arrested. Three other suspects were also arrested.

“All six suspects will appear in court on Monday to face charges of hijacking and murder,” Ngobese said.

Austen Smith Attorneys, where Msomi started serving articles as a candidate attorney from last year, described him in a Facebook post as a friendly, dedicated young man with a big heart and an easygoing personality.

It said Msomi was due to be admitted as an attorney after serving his two years at the firm.



South Africa: Lawyers strike ‘spells disaster’ amid court chaos

August 20, 2019

Justice in court. Picture: Twitter

The lawyers are aggrieved by lack of security at their offices, as well as the heavy workload, among others.

Court officials have told of a chaotic Monday at the courts during the first day of the strike by Legal Aid SA lawyers, with cases unheard and postponed.

A court orderly at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court, which had a total of 48 old cases and more than 20 first appearances on the roll, said none of the legal aid lawyers from the Wynberg offices reported for duty.

“The state had no other choice but to request that the matters be postponed. If this is not resolved speedily, it could spell a complete disaster,” the court official, who did not want to be named, said.

The public legal representation agency, which assists about 725,000 people each year, according to its chief executive officer Vidhu Vedalankar, confirmed there were disruptions, with Gauteng the most affected.

Spokesperson Mfanafuthi Shabangu said there were minor disruptions in the flow of cases, particularly in Benoni, Palm Ridge and Randburg Magistrate’s Court.






South Africa: Man gunned down in downtown Joburg believed to be a lawyer

June 25, 2019

A man was shot dead outside a law firm in Newtown, central Johannesburg, on Tuesday morning.

Johannesburg police are investigating a case of murder after a man, believed to be a lawyer, was shot dead outside a law firm in the city’s central business district on Tuesday.

Police spokesperson Constable Moloto Kgatla said the incident happened in Newtown at around 8am on Tuesday morning.

“The gentleman had just got out of his vehicle. He went to the boot of the car to take out something. As he was approaching his place of work, a man who came out of nowhere shot him several times,” said Kgatla, adding that the man died at the scene.

“The man who shot him fled the scene in another vehicle.”

In a video circulating on social media, the victim can be seen reversing his car into a parking spot. He gets out and takes a bag out of the boot. As he is walking on the pavement, another man is seen coming from behind, shooting the victim several times before fleeing the scene.

The motive behind the killing is not known and police have not arrested anyone in connection with the incident.




South Africa: Cape Town Lawyer Shot Dead in Khayelitsha

May 20, 2019

A Cape Town criminal attorney has been shot dead at a spaza shop in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, a source told News24.

David Mbazwana previously represented a security company boss and bouncer accused of having links to the criminal underworld.

“He was shot in front of a spaza shop in Khayelitsha in the presence of his sister in an apparent robbery,” the source told News24 on Sunday, the day Mbazwana was shot dead.

Mbazwana was one of the lawyers for Grant Veroni, of the company Skhosana Maponyane Hall Phillips and Khumalo, trading as The Security Group (TSG), who authorities accused of having links to underworld activities, News24 earlier reported.

Western Cape police have confirmed that a shooting incident took place at the Eiland informal settlement, Makhaza, Khayelitsha on Sunday afternoon.

“According to reports the 38-year-old victim was allegedly shot by unknown suspects and he died on the way to hospital,” spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk said in a statement on Monday.






South Africa: Lawyers’ strike threatens to shut down courts countrywide

May 14, 2019

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. Picture: Twitter

Lawyers being attacked by disgruntled legal aid clients because of a lack of security and monstrous workloads are just two of their grievances.

The wheels of justice could grind to a halt countrywide if a brewing national strike at Legal Aid SA is not averted, and workers’ grievances regarding a lack of security at their offices, debilitating workloads and bullying are not addressed.

Following years of fruitless engagements with management, aggrieved workers – including lawyers and support staff – fired the first salvo last year when they obtained a strike certificate from the Council for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

As part of the picketing rules agreed upon with the employer building up to a full-blown strike, workers will today hold demonstrations at the public legal agency’s Braamfontein offices.

The agency yesterday confirmed that chief executive officer Vidhu Vedalankar will accept a memorandum of grievances from the workers, with timeframes for a response.

Legal Aid SA provides legal services in criminal and civil matters for those earning between below R8,000, and receives funding from parliament. The agency has 64 local offices, six provincial offices, and one national office.

According to its annual report, the vast majority of cases it handled were criminal cases at 371 202 (87%), compared to 55 794 (13%) in the previous financial year.








South Africa: ‘Assault’ charges dropped against Richard Spoor for ‘pointing [a general] with a finger’

March 28, 2019

Richard Spoor speaks to Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe at a Xolobeni community meeting on 23 September. Photo extracted from video shot by the Amadiba Crisis Committee.

The prominent human rights lawyer found himself in a chaotic encounter with Gwede Mantashe last year.

Charges against prominent public interest lawyer Richard Spoor have been withdrawn.

Spoor was charged with unlawfully and intentionally assaulting a police general “by pointing him with a finger”; disobeying an order by the police general to “keep quiet and not advance to the podium”; and “waiving hands” at an unnamed MEC (actually a national cabinet minister), and talking while the “MEC” was talking and “pointing him with a finger” [sic all].

The charges – described by Spoor’s legal representative as “a persecution and not a prosecution” – stemmed from an incident-filled visit by Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe to Pondoland last September.

Here, many of the local Amadiba community are opposing an attempt by an Australian mining company to extract titanium from the mineral-rich coastal dunes in their traditional heritage and communal land at Xolobeni.

Spoor, from White River in Mpumalanga, has represented the anti-mining Amadiba Crisis Committee community group for the past 12 years.




Kenya: The Kenyan Judiciary Strikes “Terror” Again in the Hearts of African Dictators

January 14, 2019

It is not too early to pass judgment that the Kenyan Judiciary along with the South African judiciary are the leading judicial lights in Africa in terms of exercising judicial autonomy and independence. This article deals with the very important decision by the Kenyan High Court on December 14, 2018 in relation to an opposition politician which demonstrates the significant advances in the calibre and independence of the Kenyan judiciary, a decision which is not conceivable anywhere else in Africa except South Africa.

The decision relates to one lawyer Miguna Miguna who was forcibly deported twice back to Canada by the Kenyan government on account that he was not a Kenyan citizen as he had allegedly lost his citizenship when the constitution was amended in 2010. In early 2018, the Kenyan government disobeyed all types of judicial orders to release Miguna who had been detained. They put him back in the plane twice and deported him.

Miguna started the long distance legal struggle from Canada to overturn government decisions and to make the government pay for the monumental human rights violations inflicted on him. He hired Kenyan lawyers who laboured without pay for their colleague. At long last, on December 14, the decision was handed down: the High Court judge Justice Mwitwa ruled that Miguna never lost his Kenyan citizenship which he had acquired by birth and that the government had committed egregious acts by revoking his passport and had further indulged in torturous violations of his human rights. They must immediately reinstate his passport and allow him back into Kenya.

On top of this, the High Court ruled that the taxpayers must not be saddled with paying the damages and costs awarded to Miguna, the damages and costs must be borne out personally by the individual officers involved: the Attorney General, the Immigration Chief, the relevant Police Inspector General and several other named officers. US$70,000. And costs. This is huge in Africa. This is revolutionary. Such orders are rare. The last recent one in Africa was when the South African High Court ordered that Zuma must pay for the costs of all legal actions that he was involved in while he was President but for crimes he had committed as an individual.

Governments have had the luxury of violating people’s rights and when and if orders were issued against governments to pay, the government’s either didn’t pay or paid because it was taxpayers money and the faceless individuals who violated someone’s rights didn’t feel the impact. If the government didn’t pay, it is difficult to determine whom to actually pursue. Governments acted with impunity. A government is faceless.




South Africa: BLF attack on advocate a threat to justice and rule of law – NADEL

December 11, 2018

The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) condemns the attack on a Johannesburg Advocate at the Johannesburg High Court.

It was reported in the media that a female advocate was attacked by a mob of members of the political party Black First Land First(BLF). It was reported that the advocate was cornered and then beaten in an elevator including being punched in the face. She managed to escape her attackers when the elevator stopped. The mob then went to court looking for her.

We expect that this violent, criminal incident will be thoroughly investigated by the authorities. The perpetrators must face the full might of the law.

The courthouse and courtroom represents the ideals of justice, democracy and the rule of law especially in our constitutional dispensation. The attack on the advocate is therefore also an attack on the very principles of justice, democracy and the rule of law.

In a democracy the rule of law protects the rights of citizens, maintains order and limits the political exercise of power. The rule of law is critical for democracy rooted in equal rights and accountability to flourish. The rule of law is dispensed through our judiciary housed in our courthouses.

Threats and violence against lawyers, legal professionals and members of the judiciary also represent a significant threat to the rule of law.

This attack cannot be viewed as a single incident or in a vacuum. There has been an increase in the number of violent incidents in our courts.





South Africa: Top criminal lawyer Pete Mihalik killed in hit outside child’s school

October 30, 2018

Mihalik, whose clients included leading Cape Town gangsters, had bodyguards but ‘the shooter went up to the car window and just killed him’

Advocate Pete Mihalik during the Susan Rohde trial in the Western Cape High Court on December 4 2017 in Cape Town. Picture: GALLO IMAGES / NETWERK24 / ADRIAN DE KOCK

One of Cape Town’s top criminal lawyers was shot dead on Tuesday while dropping his child at school.

Attorney Pete Mihalik‚ 50‚ was killed in what witnesses described as an execution outside Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard in Green Point on Tuesday, his partner Bruce Hendricks said.

It is understood that Mihalik’s eight-year-old son was injured in the shooting.

The lawyer also had a daughter‚ and it is understood that his wife committed suicide earlier this year.

Sources said Mihalik had bodyguards but “the shooter went up to the car window and just killed him”.

Paramedics arrived on the scene but were unable to save him.

A photograph tweeted from the scene showed a single bullet hole in the driver’s door window. Police were at the school and pupils were being escorted out.








South Africa: Timothy Omotoso’s lawyer #PeterDaubermann said he fears for his life

October 21, 2018

Nigerian televangelist Timothy Omotoso’s lawyer Peter Daubermann said he fears for his life after he put up a fight for his client in court last week.

Daubermann was “attacked” as he left Port Elizabeth High Court last week after an outrage on social media over his line of questioning of Cheryl Zondi, who testified that Omotoso raped her multiple times during her time in the ministry.

Omotoso, 60, faces charges of rape and alleged human trafficking of more than 30 girls.
Daubermann labelled the incident in which he had water thrown at him as he left court as an “attack on the justice system”, adding that he fears for his safety and has had to make security arrangements for himself.

“Legal representation is a pillar of the justice system. Any person, no matter how unpopular they are and how unpopular their cause is, or any of the crimes of which they are charged, is entitled to legal representation.
“Once you start interfering with that right it could lead to the collapse of the entire system,” he said.

“The accused has the right to be represented by whoever he wants and the accused will feel aggrieved if the person tasked to represent him has been put under severe stress of fear of being attacked.