Bar Coun­cil thrashes Maz­zone

Afro Voice (National Edition) - - Politics - DENNIS CRUYWAGEN news@afro­tone.co.za

THE Bar Coun­cil has slammed DA MP Natasha Maz­zone’s com­ments about EFF chair­per­son ad­vo­cate Dali Mpofu, SC, act­ing for Cape Town mayor Pa­tri­cia de Lille, as one of the most un­in­formed and demo­crat­i­cally bank­rupt ob­ser­va­tions from a politi­cian.

The Bar Coun­cil crit­i­cised Maz­zone as EFF deputy chair­per­son Floyd Shivambu fumed on the so­cial me­dia about Maz­zone’s re­marks made out­side the Cape Town High court this week.

On Wed­nes­day, a full bench of the Cape Town High Court found that the DA ac­tion on De Lille’s was un­law­ful and in­valid. De Lille’s le­gal team in­cluded Mpofu.

Out­side the court Natasha Maz­zone, deputy chair­per­son of the DA fed­eral ex­ec­u­tive, said: “It’s a sign of how re­la­tions have bro­ken down be­tween the DA and Pa­tri­cia de Lille in that she chooses a chair­per­son of an­other po­lit­i­cal party to at­tack her own po­lit­i­cal party. It goes a long way to show Pa­tri­cia de Lille does not ac­tu­ally con­sider her­self to be a mem­ber of the DA.”

Bar Coun­cil chair­per­son Vuyani Gul­wana, SC, said: “It is one of the most un­in­formed and demo­crat­i­cally bank­rupt ob­ser­va­tions from a politi­cian who claims to be a demo­crat (if her mem­ber­ship of a party called “Demo­cratic Al­liance” were any in­di­ca­tion of such) that I have heard this year.”

When mem­bers of the Bar per­formed a pro­fes­sional func­tion they did so as of­fi­cers of the Court, not as politi­cians. “The MP would do well to fa­mil­iarise her­self with the Uni­form Rules of Ethics that gov­ern the Bar be­fore of­fer­ing a sound­bite that is of­fen­sive even to the Con­sti­tu­tion to which she has pledged al­le­giance as a Mem­ber of the Na­tional Assem­bly.”

He added: “Judg­ing by such com­ments from a law­maker, one won­ders if she un­der­stands the mean­ing of her oath or solemn af­fir­ma­tion and the im­port of sec­tion 34 of the Con­sti­tu­tion. This is un­for­tu­nate.”

An an­gry Shivambu posted about Maz­zone’s ut­ter­ances on the so­cial me­dia. “This is pre­pos­ter­ous and plainly fool­ish. Pro­fes­sion­als must work ac­cord­ing to po­lit­i­cal party af­fil­i­a­tion now? It’s not like we ex­pected anything bet­ter from this crowd of in­tol­er­ant racists. Their days are num­bered.”

Com­ment­ing on Maz­zone’s re­marks, the chair­per­son of the Jo­han­nes­burg So­ci­ety of Ad­vo­cates, IP Green, SC, said yes­ter­day that the start­ing point was that coun­sel did not choose cases of­fered to them by in­struct­ing at­tor­neys. Nei­ther did they choose their clients.

When coun­sel was or­dered a brief by an at­tor­ney he or she was obliged to ac­cept the brief in cer­tain limited cir­cum­stances. This was known as the Cab Rank file.

This rule en­sured that in­di­vid­u­als have ac­cess to fair and com­pe­tent le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion be­cause coun­sel was obliged to ac­cept the brief ir­re­spec­tive of the iden­tity of the client, the na­ture of their case, or whether the client was pay­ing or be­ing funded.

Green said no mat­ter what coun­sel thought about the char­ac­ter, rep­u­ta­tion, con­duct, guilt or in­no­cence of clients, they had to take on cases re­ferred to them.

“With­out the Cab Rank rule an un­pop­u­lar per­son may not be able to get le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion,” Green said.

“The Cab Rank rule is en­trenched in the pro­fes­sional rule of ethics which bind all ad­vo­cates. The ex­cep­tions to the Cab Rank rule do not arise in the con­text of the spe­cific ques­tions you have raised.”

Mean­while, the high court yes­ter­day post­poned De Lille’s ap­pli­ca­tion to com­pel the DA to sub­mit ev­i­dence used to draw up the so-called Steen­huisen re­port.

Yes­ter­day De Lille said out­side the High Court that the DA has re­fused to pro­vide the full record, con­tend­ing that it was not obliged to pro­vide the doc­u­ments be­cause it was an in­ter­nal, pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion by a pri­vate body.

“The DA also claims that the ev­i­dence is ‘con­fi­den­tial’. This is dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand be­cause the DA con­stantly and pub­licly chal­lenges me to deal with the find­ings of the Steen­huisen re­port and yet, in the court case, they wish to keep the ev­i­dence that the Steen­huisen com­mit­tee con­sid­ered a se­cret.”

PIC­TURE: TWIT­TER

‘UN­IN­FORMED’: DA MP Natasha Maz­zone was slammed by the Bar Coun­cil.

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