Durban — King Misuzulu’s unpaid legal bill of almost R20 million owed to his former legal firm, Strauss Daly, might negatively affect his bid to defend his throne in the battle with his half-brother, Prince Simakade Zulu after the legal firm refused to release the file to the new attorneys before the bill was settled.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily News, Strauss Daly attorney Andile Khoza said that as much as his firm would love to help the king since it had a good relationship with him, it was unfortunate that the law did not allow the firm to release the file before the bill was settled in full.
Khoza said lawyers were protected by a property law term called lien that allowed it to withhold the file until the client had settled all outstanding fees.
He added that the decision was beyond their control as lawyers, and once the client terminated the firm’s services, the credit control department took over and did its work of ensuring that the company’s finances were in order.
“It is true that the file is still with us, and the only way the new king’s attorneys can get it would be when the king settles the bill.
“It’s so unfortunate that it was the only way, and I do not see any other way since the matter was not even in our hands as attorneys, but it has been taken over by our credit control department.
“At the end of the day lawyers need to be paid for work they do for clients,” said Khoza.
He further stated that the R8m that the firm had billed the king for was for the work it had done up until January last year – and since then until last week, when their services were terminated, the bill would be more than double the amount.
“Although our credit department is busy reconciling, I can tell you with the amount of work we have done since January last year until last week, the amount will be double this R8m.
“People should recall that up until January last year we had opened nine files, but now we have 24 files, which is a lot of work, so the figure we are owed is substantially high,” said Khoza.
The king’s new attorneys will fight to convince the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on Wednesday why the case that was set to begin trial should be postponed.
It is unclear how they will argue without the crucial information that is contained in the file held by Strauss Daly. The matter was set down for trial from Wednesday until Friday, but soon after firing Strauss Daly his new legal team filed an application for a postponement to be heard Wednesday.
The king’s royal agent, Prince Africa Zulu of Onkweni Residence, said that after back-to-back consultations with Strauss Daly over the outstanding files of affidavits he had been made aware by Strauss Daly that they were ready to hand over all files upon receipt of payment of the total legal bill.
He said it was for that reason that as a royal agent of His Majesty, he was pleading with the relevant authorities to see to it that they attended to the matter, as this was critical for the new legal team to defend the king.
“I had made this call to relevant parties a while ago, to no avail. His Majesty’s reign is crucial for the economic stability of our government, I am pleading with the authorities.”
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