Today’s Latest Daily News
Advocate Thuli Madonsela.
- Advocate Thuli Madonsela has apologised for a tweet that suggested Legal Aid South Africa encouraged their clients to plead guilty during court cases.
- The organisation said they hadn’t received an application for representation from Zandile Mafe, who is accused of setting Parliament on fire.
- Mafe is expected in court again on Tuesday.
Advocate Thuli Madonsela has apologised to Legal Aid South Africa for a tweet that insinuated the organisation’s lawyers encouraged clients to confess instead of fighting charges in court.
Earlier this week, Madonsela wrote on Twitter that she was curious how Zandile Mafe, accused of setting Parliament on fire, managed to secure a private lawyer.
She said that being presented by a private lawyer meant, “removing him from state Legal Aid where there was risk of a confession”.
Mafe, who is being represented by Advocate Luyolo Godla, is due back in court on Tuesday. He faces charges of housebreaking with the intent to steal, theft, two counts of arson, possession of an explosive device, and destruction of essential infrastructure.
I’ve been wondering how it was possible to quickly arrange a private lawyer for the homeless Zandile Mafe thus removing him from state Legal Aid where there was risk of a confession.I’m curious what those who are 100% sure he is innocent know that we do not know #ParliamentAttack https://t.co/v0htc8yU13
— Prof Thuli Madonsela #SocialJustice (@ThuliMadonsela3) January 5, 2022
In a statement released on Friday, Legal Aid SA defended its lawyers, saying they offer, “independent, accessible and quality legal aid services in criminal and civil legal matters”.
It added that it had not received an application to represent Mafe.
“All Legal Aid SA practitioners are committed to ensuring that they represent their clients to the best of their ability and provide them with the best defence possible, including ensuring that clients do not implicate themselves and are treated as innocent until proven guilty through a fair hearing in a court of law.”
The organisation said its lawyers represented clients without fear or favour.
“Failure to do so renders the legal practitioner liable to disciplinary action by the Legal Practice Council. The commitment to providing quality legal services is one which the organisation takes seriously, given that the outcome of cases impacts on the lives of the clients that we serve. Clients provide their version of events to their legal practitioner, which is what the practitioner then presents to the court.”
Mandosela responded by apologising to the body on Saturday with a tweet:
“I regret that my tweet was interpreted to cast aspersions on the great work you do to advance access to justice and reinforce,” Madonsela said.
Thank you @LegalAidSA1. I regret that my tweet was interpreted to cast aspersions on the great work you do to advance access to justice and reinforce #everydayjustice
— Prof Thuli Madonsela #SocialJustice (@ThuliMadonsela3) January 8, 2022