Pretoria – The EFF has condemned the “overzealousness” of the SAPS, following the dramatic arrest of advocate Malesela Teffo.
Teffo, who is the legal representative for four of the five men arrested for the 2014 murder of Bafana Bafana ace goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, was arrested while he was still in court after the adjournment of the high-stakes trial.
EFF national spokesperson Sinawo Thambo said the SAPS was in a deliberate attempt at publicly humiliating the legal eagle.
“In an unnecessary use of force and deliberate attempt at public humiliation, the Tactical Response Team of the SAPS arrested Teffo immediately after court adjourned in the Senzo Meyiwa trial,” said Thambo.
“It is more concerning that the warrant of arrest is reported to have been issued in January 2022, yet SAPS waited for such a sensitive moment to effect this arrest, casting doubt and aspersion on a case which has been dragging for over seven years.”
He said the Constitution emphasises on all people to be treated with dignity in South Africa.
“All people are equal before the law and whosoever breaks the law should be arrested, however, the Constitution enjoins all of us to treat each other fairly with dignity and respect at all times, the police included.
“The conduct of the police is in contempt of court and a disregard of the long overdue justice to the family of the late Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa and all the accused,” said Thambo.
“The EFF has always warned against the thuggish conduct of excited law enforcement agencies, whose incompetence and undermining of the sacred human rights in our Constitution, including the rights of the accused to dignity, knows no bounds.”
The EFF on Friday called on prosecution authority and justice ministry to investigate “this disgusting contempt of high court by SAPS and to arrest swiftly those responsible for desecration of Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela’s court”.
“The use of the Tactical Response Team to effect an arrest for contempt is not only excessive, but wasteful, especially considering the high rate of violent crime in South Africa,” said Thambo.
“The EFF calls on the Bar Council, the Judicial Service Commission and Legal Practice Council to condemn this blatant act of disrespect of the judiciary in session, which was done under the disguise of a lawful arrest.”
Teffo was said to be “okay” after spending the night in a Joburg police station cells.
“He is fine, I want to check him now this morning. Since I left him at one o’clock in the morning, he was okay,” Teffo’s instructing attorney in the Meyiwa murder trial Tshepo Thobane spoke to broadcaster eNCA in Hillbrow.
“I did not ask him (how he slept), but you cannot sleep well in a cell.”
Thobane said his team waited up for the docket until about 1am on Friday.
“I went to see the prosecutor.
‘We are still waiting for the docket,” said Thobane.
He said the spectacular arrest of Teffo, inside the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria will be addressed fully in a media briefing.
“We will not be taking it up with this court (in Hillbrow) but definitely we will take it up, somewhere with another court.
“It will be upon his instructions. As he told me, we are not to talk much to the media until he is out then we will make a press conference,” said Thobane.
He said Teffo’s arrest did not affect the Meyiwa murder trial, and Teffo would be representing his clients when the case resumes.
“That trial will continue and he will be there,” said Thobane.
During the arrest, Teffo accused Police Minister Bheki Cele of masterminding his detention.
Several police officers pounced on the legal representative inside the high court building, leaving tongues wagging.