The Pretoria High Court has recently made a significant ruling in the case of former advocate Malesela Teffo. In a judgment handed down electronically on Friday, the high court found Teffo in contempt of a strike-off order and sentenced him to 12 months of suspended imprisonment.
The South African Legal Practice Council (LPC) had launched a contempt of court application against Teffo earlier this year. The court declared Teffo to be in contempt for disobeying several aspects of the September 16 strike-off order.
Teffo’s misconduct occurred during the first Senzo Meyiwa murder trial in the Pretoria high court. Despite being struck off the roll of legal practitioners, Teffo attempted to address the court. He appeared on May 17, dressed in counsel’s robes, and demanded to speak on behalf of Meyiwa’s brother, claiming he had received instructions to do so.
However, the court was not swayed by Teffo’s arguments. The judge, Tshifhiwa Maumela, made it clear that Teffo’s actions were in direct violation of the strike-off order. As a result, Teffo was struck off the roll in September 2022.
In its recent ruling, the high court sentenced Teffo to 12 months’ imprisonment, with the sentence suspended on the condition that he immediately complies with the strike-off order. The court also granted the LPC the right to bring an urgent application to enforce the suspended sentence if Teffo continues to breach the order.
Teffo’s counter-application and recession/variation application were dismissed by the court. The judgment also directed Teffo to pay the costs of the contempt application, as well as the costs of the other applications, on the attorney and client scale.