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Johannesburg - A prominent Joburg defence lawyer is entangled in what appears to be a major conflict of interest after she did legal work for two rival parties.
Advocate Annelene van den Heever is representing Radovan Krejcir in the kidnapping case against him, but he has also been charged for the murder of one her clients, Phumlani Ncube.
She is also representing Krejcir in the Ncube matter.
Ncube, a Zimbabwean debt collector, was shot dead and his bullet-riddled body found at a farm in Heidelberg in July last year.
Krejcir and his co-accused, Nkanyiso Mafunda and Sboniso Miya, appeared in the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court last month over Ncube’s murder.
Several legal experts expressed concern, saying they believed it was a huge conflict of interest.
“I wouldn’t do it,” said one legal expert.
Another legal eagle, advocate Mike Hellens SC, said it didn’t really matter if the cases didn’t have any connection.
But, if Van den Heever took a brief from the family in connection with Ncube’s death, Hellens said, then she should not represent Krejcir.
When The Star contacted Van den Heever, she said: “There is no conflict of interest.”
She said Krejcir had not been charged properly.
Van den Heever confirmed she had been good friends with Ncube, but referred further questions to her attorney, Piet du Plessis.
Du Plessis said he was not aware that Ncube was Van den Heever’s client.
He said there was no conflict of interest because there was no connection between the cases, but if such a conflict arose, then “I will get another attorney to do it or do it myself”.
Ncube’s family are unhappy that Van den Heever is now representing Krejcir.
“When Phumlani disappeared we immediately contacted her,” said Trybest Goka, who is Ncube’s brother.
“We asked her to assist us to track him down and find out if he has been arrested. If she found that he had been arrested, she was going to represent him. We told her this because she was his lawyer.
“We are taking this very hard because we trusted her. She h ad been friends with Phumlani for five years.
“She dealt with all his legal documents. So it is very disturbing that she is now representing Krejcir while we are still grieving,” Goka said.