Advocate Dali Mpofu has been cleared by the Legal Practice Council (LPC), which regulates the conduct of legal practitioners, following allegations of misconduct during the Zondo commission hearings last year.
Mpofu, a prominent EFF member, faced several charges relating to the breach of the LPC’s code of conduct following his alleged outburst directed at Advocate Michelle le Roux, who was Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s legal counsel when he appeared before the commission in March last year.
In March this year, the Johannesburg Society of Advocates found Mpofu guilty of an ethical violation for speaking disrespectfully to Le Roux during a heated exchange at the commission hearings.
City Press understands that the complaint against Mpofu was brought to the LPC by fellow advocate at the Johannesburg Society of Advocates, Craig Watt-Pringle.
Mpofu also made counter-allegations against Watt-Pringle at LPC, but the details of that complaint are still sketchy. Watt-Pringle had not responded to questions by the time of going to print.
Spokesperson Kabelo Letebele confirmed that the LPC had found Mpofu not guilty of contravening the council’s code of conduct.
Letebele could not share the judgment, saying that it was still being prepared.
However, City Press understands that the ruling was made on June 2.The charges included that Mpofu allowed his “ill feelings” towards Le Roux to overtake him and refused to sit down when instructed to do so by commission chairperson Chief Justice Raymond Zondo during the sitting with Gordhan last year. He was also charged with breaching clauses of the council’s code of conduct. These state that the legal practitioners must:
. Deal with the judicial officer, court staff and all other persons in court with civility and respect;
. Not allow any ill-feelings between litigants or legal practitioners to interfere with the civil and professional conduct of the matter; and
. Not indulge in personal remarks about the opposing legal practitioners or witnesses, whether in or out of court. They should also not allow any personal antipathy that might exist between the legal practitioners and the opposing legal practitioners to intrude on the conduct of the matter.
The charges emanated from Mpofu’s alleged conduct on March 23 last year at the commission hearings in Johannesburg, when Mpofu told Le Roux to “shut up” after she allegedly interrupted him.
In addition, he also told Gordhan to “shut up” because he was still on the floor.
City Press understands that Mpofu was granted an opportunity by the LPC to respond to the charges against him.
READ: Crime spirals out of control As part of his defence, Mpofu is believed to have indicated that:
. Le Roux was his junior and he had felt insulted by her reference to his cross-examination as “political grandstanding”;
. He was disrespected during a televised sitting when Le Roux allegedly interrupted him;
. Le Roux’s behaviour was condescending, and he perceived her attitude to be racist;
. Le Roux made disparaging remarks that were hurtful; and
. Le Roux broke accepted protocols regarding how and when to respond to objections, and also disregarded issues of seniority.
Mpofu did not return City Press’ calls or respond to messages sent to him requesting comment.