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Breaking news: Malalane attorney loses appeal, can’t practise

Zietta Janse van Rensburg will now have to prove her case at a Legal Practice Council disciplinary hearing, which could take up to six months to conclude.

The Mpumalanga High Court this afternoon 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 that there was a reasonable chance of success that another court would come to a different decision on her suspension.

ALSO READ: High court suspends Onderberg attorney: Zietta scrambles to continue practising

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

ALSO READ: The Onderberg’s Zietta van Rensburg implicated in ‘serious misconduct’

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 that 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 explained that 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 they were not held to the same standards with regards to providing evidence in the case.

ALSO READ: Virtual hearing for Onderberg attorney Zietta van Rensburg

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

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“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.

He 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. Judge Mashile suggested that the matter be finalised within six months.

The leave to appeal was dismissed with costs.


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