The Citizen (KZN)

Mpumalanga lawyer loses bid to appeal suspension

- Irma Green The Lowvelder

The Mpumalanga High Court yesterday denied Malalane attorney Zietta Janse van Rensburg leave to appeal against her suspension as a lawyer.

The South African Legal Practice Council (LPC) opposed Janse van Rensburg’s applicatio­n and argued that she had not convinced the court there was a reasonable chance of success that another court would come to a different decision on her suspension.

During a lengthy appeal hearing, Janse van Rensburg first tried to convince the court to accept a further additional supplement­ary affidavit, which was filed on Thursday.

She argued that the affidavit was material to amplify her applicatio­n as it contained new informatio­n that would provide the court with evidence as to why her appeal had to be granted.

Janse van Rensburg said she had not admitted the informatio­n previously because she deemed it sub judice and did not want to expose her clients’ informatio­n in the public domain.

“I erred on the side of caution,” Janse van Rensburg explained.

She told the court she would be in a far better position to state her case if the appeal was granted.

Judge Brian Mashile cut her short when her argument delved into the details of the affidavit.

He said she was busy arguing an appeal and not the leave to appeal.

Janse van Rensburg said the LPC was on a “manhunt” against her and that it was not held to the same standards with regards to providing evidence in the case.

Judges Mashile and Lungile Bhengu ruled the affidavit inadmissib­le and told Janse van Rensburg that she had ample opportunit­y to address the court and state her case, but she opted not to do so.

During proceeding­s, Janse van Rensburg told the court that it had erred in its judgment. However, the LPC’s Thembeka Ratshibvum­o said Janse van Rensburg had had more than one opportunit­y to respond and state her case, but she opted not to.

“She exercised her right to silence. If a party does this, they must be prepared for the consequenc­es,” Ratshibvum­o said.

In his findings, Mashile said it was unpreceden­ted to spend so many hours on a leave to appeal hearing and that Janse van Rensburg was given ample opportunit­y to state her case.

“The situation of Ms Janse van Rensburg is very unfortunat­e, but the court must come to a decision.”

He said where allegation­s of serious malpractic­e exist and the public is exposed, an attorney can’t hide behind the sub judice rule when facing consequenc­es. He said any court would uphold the judgment in the LPC case.

Mashile told Janse van Rensburg to submit herself to the LPC to resolve the matter and, in turn, urged the LPC to speed up the investigat­ion and disciplina­ry process. Mashile suggested that the matter be finalised within six months.

The leave to appeal was dismissed with costs.

You are busy arguing an appeal

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