Senzo Meyiwa trial: Is Teffo back as defence counsel? ‘Clients to give direction’ – instructing attorney

Advocate Malesela Teffo in court.

Advocate Malesela Teffo in court.
Alet Pretorius, Gallo Images
  • Malesela Teffo said he would return as defence counsel in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, but this information was not given in court.
  • Instead, his former instructing attorney told the court he had been given instructions to proceed with the matter. 
  • Teffo had previously withdrawn, but later penned a letter to claim he was still acting as the defence counsel.

While advocate Malesela Teffo claimed he would return as defence counsel in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, this did not come to fruition on Tuesday morning when the matter appeared in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

Earlier in July, Teffo, who was representing four of the men accused of murdering the former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper, withdrew as defence counsel.

Shortly thereafter, he penned a letter to the State prosecutor, advocate George Baloyi, to inform him that he was “not going to withdraw in this matter and give the State undeserved due”.

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In the letter, Teffo made several demands to ensure the “defence” and the accused’s appearance in court.

These demands included:

  • The withdrawal of criminal charges against himself;
  • The dismissal of Police Minister Bheki Cele; and
  • The appointment of another trial judge.

Teffo had said the defence would not be present in court if the demands weren’t met, but his former instructing attorney, TT Thobane, was present.

In court, Thobane did not raise the issue of Teffo coming back onto the record and, instead, told Judge Tshifiwa Maumela that he had received instructions to proceed with the matter.

Teffo did not elaborate about who he spoke on behalf of or who the relevant stakeholders were.

Before court proceedings got under way, Thobane also fielded questions from the media. However, he remained mum on whether Teffo would return as defence counsel.

He said:

With regards to advocate Teffo, I won’t say much. I still have to consult with the clients to give us direction. Even myself, I depend on the clients. If the clients say I will stop here, I will stop. The instructions are from the client, not myself.

He was then asked on what basis Teffo said he was back as a defence counsel on the matter.

“That’s why I want to clarify it with the clients.”

Thobane then explained that, as the instructing attorney, he would get instructions from his clients and would then give those instructions to the advocate.

He added that he would not be commenting on the letter by Teffo, or whether Teffo consulted him or his clients, and whether there was an instruction for Teffo to come back on record as per his letter.

Senzo Meyiwa

Senzo Meyiwa.
Ryan Wilkisky / BackpagePix

However, in court, Thobane appeared to distance himself from Teffo, telling the court that Teffo’s letter was written after his withdrawal and was not written on instructions from him as the instructing attorney.

This was after Maumela sought to dispel the baseless claims made by Teffo in the letter.

Teffo had accused Maumela of using the services of a sangoma to bewitch him and destabilise the defence. This accusation was made without any proof or substantiation.

Maumela, albeit indirectly, rubbished the claim, saying: “I have a physician called Jesus, and he needs no augmentation.”

Maumela concluded by saying that he “needed to say that”.