The Pan African Bar Association of South Africa (PABASA) has become the latest to condemn the arrest of advocate Malesela Teffo, the legal representative for four of the accused in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial.
Teffo was arrested last week Thursday at the end of trial proceedings. His dramatic arrest was something out of a telenovela, prompting widespread outrage against the South African Police Service (SAPS) who were accused of trying to humiliate him. When Teffo was being handcuffed, he claimed Police Minister Bheki Cele was behind his arrest, which raised more questions than answers. Cele has denied having anything to do with Teffo being arrested.
But it was later learnt that he had been arrested for allegedly assaulting a female police officer. Teffo was supposed to appear in the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court several times in relation to the charges. He missed the appearances including one at the end of January this year. The SAPS released a report which details what led to his arrest.
PABASA, a body of lawyers and other legal professionals, has come to advocate Malesela Teffo’s defence. PABASA’s deputy chairperson advocate Nasreen Rajab Budlender says they take issue with how Teffo’s arrest was carried out.
Speaking to eNCA, Rajab Budlender says the arrest and the circumstances surrounding it, were rather unusual and that there was no reason for the SAPS to handcuff him inside the courtroom.
“It is very clear that this is not about advocate Teffo. This is about the manner in which this arrest, in particular, was carried out. This is about the fact that South Africans witnessed a very high handed, demeaning and humiliating arrest of a legal practitioner inside a courtroom. Advocate Teffo still had his robes on. This is very unusual… the circumstances behind it really requires comment and for us to remind everyone what the rules are in relation to arrests”
PABASA deputy chairperson advocate Nasreen Rajab Budlender