SA lawyer schools Ndlozi on ‘young, black’ advocate Ngcukaitobi

Whether or not the lauded advocate counts as being 'young' is up for debate.

When EFF spokesperson Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi tweeted pics of advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi representing the party and its leader Julius Malema at the High Court in Pretoria, he probably didn’t expect a backlash.

However, lawyer and columnist Elisha Kunene took him to task for using Ngcukaitobi as an example of the party’s commitment to promoting young, black talent. Ngcukaitobi, Kunene pointed out, was 40 years old.

“Each time you see Advocate Thembeka Ngcukaitobi (sic) remember EFF’s confidence in young black talent!” Ndlozi tweeted.

READ MORE: Advocate calls AfriForum case ’embarrassing’ and ‘legally unsound’

As well as questioning whether or not the advocate qualifies as being “young”, Kunene pointed out that Ndlozi had spelt his name incorrectly, calling him Thembeka when his name was spelt Tembeka.

The lawyer and columnist also listed the many things Ngcukaitobi had accomplished before the EFF was even formed.

“He was a partner at Bowmans for 7 years, was director of the LRC Constitutional Litigation Unit, served on the Law Reform Commission (advising parliament), and was  [Mail & Guardian’s annual 200 Young South Africans list] all before 2010 – 3 years before the EFF was founded,” he tweeted.

Ngcukaitobi argued on Tuesday that Malema committed no crime by calling for the occupation of vacant land and should not go to jail for exercising his right to free speech.

Malema has asked the court to declare sections of the Riotous Assemblies Act and the Trespassing Act unconstitutional and to set aside the National Prosecuting Authority’s decision to proceed with criminal charges against him in three separate cases.

READ MORE: Don’t jail Malema for exercising right to free speech, his lawyer says

Malema is facing separate criminal charges in the Bloemfontein and Newcastle Magistrate’s courts for his calls on EFF supporters to illegally occupy land, but his criminal trials were delayed pending the final outcome of the EFF’s constitutional challenge to the legislation, which could take years to finalise, as the Constitutional Court would have the final say about the issue.

The EFF maintains the apartheid-era law is outdated and was historically used in the 1960s to put many liberation fighters behind bars, including the accused in the Rivonia treason trial. The party has accused the ANC government of cynically now using the act to try to silence its critics.

(Additional reporting by Ilse de Lange)

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