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By Getrude Makhafola

Premium Journalist


Assault, corruption, fraud: All the charges against advocate Teffo

Teffo's legal troubles were first documented in 2015 when Lieutenant Colonel Falk laid charges of assault against him.


Under normal circumstances, you would expect an advocate of the high court, who is also a former police officer, to strictly observe the rules and decorum that govern the justice system. However, if the Legal Practice Council (LPC) is to be believed, the embattled Advocate Malesela Teffo seems to have over the years disregarded the same rules followed by his peers in the legal fraternity. Teffo's alleged misconduct chronicled through court appearances and complaints to the LPC reads like a juvenile delinquent's rap sheet. The allegations against him range from assault and harassment of police officers at the Gauteng SAPS…

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Under normal circumstances, you would expect an advocate of the high court, who is also a former police officer, to strictly observe the rules and decorum that govern the justice system.

However, if the Legal Practice Council (LPC) is to be believed, the embattled Advocate Malesela Teffo seems to have over the years disregarded the same rules followed by his peers in the legal fraternity.

Teffo’s alleged misconduct chronicled through court appearances and complaints to the LPC reads like a juvenile delinquent’s rap sheet.

The allegations against him range from assault and harassment of police officers at the Gauteng SAPS headquarters, using foul language and threatening clients who want to fire him, violating a court interdict, pocketing clients’ monies even though he’s not a trust account advocate, and appearing in court wearing a pair of blue jeans and a leather jacket.

Now, Teffo’s legal career is headed for a precipice.

Misconduct spanning years

Teffo was admitted as an advocate in 2009.

As a former member of the SAPS, he seemed to be the go-to lawyer for many officers, and handled promotion disputes and dismissal cases.

From the reams of legal files involving Teffo, his problems started in 2015, when a Lieutenant Colonel Falk and Captain Monyamane laid charges of assault against the advocate.

This is linked to an incident which allegedly happened during a disciplinary hearing chaired by Falk, where Teffo’s presence was questioned.

The officer facing charges apparently also had no idea what Teffo was doing in his hearing, as he had never approached him for legal assistance.

A physical altercation between Falk and Teffo allegedly ensued, after the latter refused to leave the room. The hearing was moved to another venue, leaving Teffo in the room by himself.

Teffo denied Falk’s version, saying he had a right to be there as a lawyer.

More than 10 police officers have since filed complaints at the LPC against Teffo.

ALSO READ: Exclusive: ‘Advocate Teffo conned me out of R5 500,’ claims furious client

Arrested for violating a court order

In 2019, the Gauteng SAPS applied for a court interdict against the advocate, after he allegedly forced his way into an office and screamed at managers at the police’s legal department, accusing them of racism.

The officers charged that he harassed and defamed them. Judge Fisher granted the interdict in October 2019 in the North Gauteng High Court.

Unperturbed, Teffo accessed the building again despite the court order, and was arrested and detained at the Hillbrow police station. The SAPS returned to court for relief, and on the day of the hearing, he arrived in jeans to represent himself, telling the court he was not ready to argue his case.

During the to and fro futile arguments from Teffo, Judge Cassim Moosa heard that he owed subscription fees at the LPC and was not a member of a bar council as required for advocates.

He was advised to “clean up his house” and go to the LPC to correct his membership.

Later writing in his judgment, Moosa described Teffo as “hostile and threatening.”

Also Read: ‘I have a physician called Jesus’: Judge Maumela on Teffo’s witchcraft claims

“It appears to me that Mr Teffo has, at least from a prima facie perspective, adopted a threatening and harassing approach to the people mentioned in this judgment.

“He has adopted a hostile, recalcitrant and difficult demeanour. He seems to suggest that he should not be kept out of the SAPS offices.”

LPC charges

The council, armed with complaints from 2015, filed a motion in March 2021 to have Teffo struck from practising law, or suspended pending court action.

Additional misconduct complaints thereafter, including those emanating from his conduct at the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, were added to the charge sheet.

Some of the charges from the LPC alleged that Teffo:

  • Placed a matter on the unopposed court roll to secure a default judgment, knowing very well that the matter was placed on the opposed roll in June 2020.
  • Assaulted and intimidated a member of the SAPS, which culminated in an interdict barring him from entering Gauteng SAPS offices.
  • The Respondent [Teffo] is being investigated for alleged corrupt activities as prescribed in the Prevention and Combating Corruption Activities Act
  • Misled the Labour Court by handing over a copy of the SAPS disciplinary regulations which differed from one submitted by opposing counsel. The judge hearing the matter confirmed the copy from the opposing counsel.
  • Contravened the Legal Practice Act in that he failed to cooperate with the LPC investigation, and failed to answer correspondence from the LPC.
  • Breached the court order handed down on 4 October 2019 by threatening Colonel Smit, and was arrested and released on bail.
  • Consulted with clients without a brief from an attorney, contravening the LPC code of conduct.
  • Received payments from clients without a brief from an attorney.
  • Utilised attorneys David Stevens Nthita and K Masemola’s details without their consent.

The North Gauteng High Court is yet to hand down judgement in the LPC case.

NOW READ: Better call Teffo: Advocate’s demands before returning to Meyiwa trial

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