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DPP says it did not sanction, not consulted on arrest of Malesela Teffo at Senzo Meyiwa trial

Police arrested Advocate Malesela Teffo, legal representative of accused 1 to 4 in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial. Picture: Goitsemang Tlhabye

Police arrested Advocate Malesela Teffo, legal representative of accused 1 to 4 in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial. Picture: Goitsemang Tlhabye

Published May 5, 2022

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Pretoria - The Gauteng director of public prosecutions (DPP) said it was not consulted and did not sanction the execution of a warrant of arrest against advocate Malesela Teffo in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria last week.

“Following numerous views and opinions expressed by members of the legal fraternity, the public and various stakeholders within the criminal justice system, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) sets the record straight regarding the arrest of advocate Teffo inside the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division, Pretoria on April 28,” a statement issued on Thursday by the prosecuting authority read.

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Spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said an internal investigation into allegations that the director of public prosecutions advised the investigating officer about the execution of the warrant was conducted.

“It became apparent that the DPP was not aware of the execution of the warrant, nor did his office approve that the warrant be executed in or at court,” she said.

The Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court issued a warrant of arrest on January 27 this year, after Teffo failed to appear in court on that day. The execution of warrants remains the competency of the South African Police Service, Mjonondwane said.

She added that the NPA remains committed to one of its values of accountability and will continue to promote respect for the rule of law, inclusive of upholding the rights of all accused persons.

Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has also added his voice this week to the dramatic arrest of Teffo in court.

According to him, the arrest was completely unacceptable and should not have happened.

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He made it clear that the arrest of anybody, let alone a legal practitioner, inside a courtroom, is completely unacceptable and should not have happened.

Teffo was defending four accused in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial and was dramatically arrested and cuffed in full view of the media and public seconds after the court had adjourned.

Various bodies, including the General Bar Association of South Africa, called for an independent investigation into the matter.

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