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Luvuyo Godla, the attorney representing the man suspected of having started the fire at Parliament, said he represents anyone of his choosing and is not being paid by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to provide legal services to him.
Speculation was rife on Tuesday after Zandile Christmas Mafe, who is said to be homeless, made his first appearance in court and was represented by a private attorney.
“I do not know where all this comes from, especially today. I am an attorney, I represent everyone. I think this arises from years back when I represented the EFF. I can categorically tell you that I am doing this case pro bono. No one is paying me for this work,” said Godla.
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Godla successfully represented the EFF in 2015 in the Western Cape High Court against the then National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise.
The party took Modise to court after she ruled that it was unparliamentary for the EFF to say government killed people in Marikana.
On Monday, the EFF added their voice to the parliament fire debate, when they called for Parliament to be relocated to Pretoria.
Godla, however, said there is no connection between him representing Mafe and the EFF, and added that the public needed to be taught more about how legal representation works.
“Take for example, Tembeka Ngcukaitobi. He is representing various people and organisations. He represented the EFF before, but nobody is saying he is an EFF lawyer when he is appearing for the state capture commission, government and so on.”
Godla added that Mafe asked that he be called in to help him after he was arrested.
“I have files of many, many clients, and clients who know people who might need a lawyer. I was contacted through Mafe’s instruction to come and help him. I wish the public will learn how we do our work as legal practitioners… we are not bound to anybody really.”
Political analyst Daniel Silke said the EFF is known for capitilising on perceived government failures.
“The EFF are always looking an opportunity to raise their profile or latch into current topical issues. If indeed there is a link between the lawyer and the EFF, and we do not know yet, if there is something that brings them together, the EFF would want to embarrass the ANC and the State… undermine judicial process like they did before. This is about looking for opportunities, mobilise supporters and discredit the State,” Silke said.
He added that the EFF exploits weaknesses in government and have in recent times perfected doing such.
But since Godla has denied the links, it appears that this time the Red Berets are innocent of trying to score political points.
Mafe was remanded in custody.
Godla says his client will deny the charges against him, adding that Mafe was made a scape goat for government’s own incompetence in securing the parliamentary precinct.
Mafe will appear again on January 11.
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