Gopolang Moloko
2 minute read
10 Jul 2018
4:50 pm

Pierre de Vos: Why I ignored Mpofu’s threat

Gopolang Moloko

The law professor has asked readers to make up their own minds based on his arguments.

Pierre de Vos on a lake somewhere outside of South Africa.

Constitutional lawyer Pierre de Vos has replied to a previously ignored threat Advocate Dali Mpofu made last week over his post on the Sars commission of inquiry.

Last week, De Vos retaliated in comedic fashion to Mpofu’s time-bound legal threat, asking if he had missed anything while on a speedboat somewhere in the world.

Mpofu threatened De Vos with legal action on Wednesday, alleging an article De Vos wrote was “defamatory, insulting and possibly racist”.

It seems the constitutional law professor found a moment to attend to the dangling threat from Mpofu.

In his blog, De Vos tabled what he believed to be the facts on Mpofu’s legal threat. It is unclear if the law professor was mocking Mpofu’s legal know-how or if he intentionally tabled the response out of pure courtesy.

De Vos blatantly admits to ignoring Mpofu’s threat and provides reasons why.

“On Friday 29 June advocate Dali Mpofu made submissions on behalf of his client, Mr Tom Moyane, to the SARS Commission chaired by judge Robert Nugent. During the hearing judge Nugent complained about the emotive nature of the submission which, he claimed, was thin on facts.

“Nugent indicated that he has never been called a kangaroo court, and pointed out that it was an offence to disparage a commission like Mpofu did.”

On July 2, Nugent issued a written ruling responding to the demands made by Mpofu on behalf of his client, rejecting all the demands.

De Vos said Mpofu’s allegations that Moyane was not given an opportunity to “rebut” the testimony of others who had come forward to make submissions to the commission was not entirely correct. He says the Government gazette 41715 contains invitation to anyone (including Moyane) to make submissions to the commission.

He quotes a paragraph from the Government gazette:

Any interested persons including juristic persons, entities, institutions and organs of State are invited to make written submissions to the Commission, in relation to all or specific items of the Terms of Reference, by no later than 31 July 2018 …

“Partly based on these facts, I commented that it was my opinion that Advocate Mpofu had acted unethically.”

The law professor continues to comment on Mpofu arguments on June 29 suggesting that Mpofu committed a criminal offence by disparaging the commission.

He included rules that governed the behavior of advocates in his blog detailing that “a member must not issue statements to any news or current news affairs media in connection with any matter which he/she has been briefed or instructed”.

De Vos said it was clear Mpofu’s threat of defamation was misplaced, closing off his note for readers to draw their own conclusions from the facts provided.

Read De Vos’s entire response below: