Former UJ lecturer lodges complaint against advocate for dishonesty and misconduct

Advocate Tererai Mafukidze

Advocate Tererai Mafukidze

Published May 19, 2024


Dismissed University of Johannesburg (UJ) lecturer, Lyness Matizirofa, has lodged a complaint against Advocate Tererai Mafukidze to the Legal Practice Council (LPC), for dishonesty in an ongoing case between her and the institution.

Matizirofa said Mafukidze failed to declare the relationship between South Gauteng High Court Judge Phanuel Mudau and former UJ vice-chancellor Professor Tshilidzi Marwala.

Matizirofa said the alleged relationship between Mudau and Marwala taints the case even though it remains pending before the court.

The complaint was sent on May 13.

She said her complaint was not about the merits of the matter but Mafukidze’s unlawful conduct in handling the matter while knowing that Mudau and Marwala were related.

Matizirofa, who was a lecturer in the institution’s statistics department, was fired for poor performance and gross dishonesty in February 2020. However, she argued that these were trumped-up charges.

She said her dismissal was based on the fact that she had a disability, and also due to xenophobia because she was a Zimbabwean.

Matizirofa has been fighting her dismissal in various courts, without success.

She also reported Mudau to the Judicial Conduct Committee (JCC) and the office of the Chief Justice for failing to disclose his relationship with Marwala.

However, Marwala has denied any relationship with Mudau.

Asked if he was aware of the complaint, Mafukidze said he was aware of the complaint which LPC forwarded on January 8, 2024, adding that he could not comment on a complaint that the LPC had not sent.

He added: “For the record, I do not know Prof Marwala's relatives. I do not know Honourable Justice Mudau's relatives. Neither do I know of the alleged relationship between them. As far as I am aware, they have denied being related.”

LPC spokesperson Kabelo Letebele said the query was submitted recently and the priority at this stage is to gather all the materials facts and evidence around the complaint lodged.

“We therefore cannot as yet comment on the merit of the case when it is yet to be considered by the independent committees,” he said.

Matizirofa said Mafukidze, who was instructed by the UJ legal team Eversheds Sutherland, evaded accountability and responsibility and then capitulated to answer the wrong questions of law concerning her complaint.

This was after Matizirofa launched a complaint against Mafukidze and Eversheds Sutherland. She said Mafukidze was responsible for participating in the strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) against her and her legal team.

She said Mafukidze also lied to the court and imputed words that she and her legal team had never said. Matizirofa said such participation was discriminatory, unlawful, unconstitutional, and went against her access to justice in terms of section 34 of the Constitution Act 108 of 1996.

This was after Mudau ruled in favour of the UJ in August last year when Matizirofa challenged her dismissal in the South Gauteng High Court.

Matizirofa, in her complaint, said Mafukidze had made himself a party to such biased and unlawful conduct. She said he should have disclosed that Mudau and Marwala were related.

She said Mafukidze’s response was a regurgitation of the pleaded cases and did not answer to his unlawful role in the three matters before the courts.

Matizirofa said Mafukidze’s conduct failed on at least one or more of the categories of misconduct listed below:

- maintain the highest standards of honesty and integrity

- uphold the Constitution of the Republic and the principles and values enshrined in the Constitution, and without limiting the generality of these principles and values, shall not, in the course of his or her or its practice or business activities, discriminate against any person on any grounds prohibited in the Constitution.

Matizirofa said Mafukidze should, in line with consistency, be charged with misconduct as CCMA commissioner Keheditse Masege, who chaired the internal hearing was later accused of using the CCMA template in reaching the outcome.

“Advocate Mafukidze keeps intimidating me and my legal team as SLAPP and the LPC has (sic) jurisdiction to investigate his unlawful and unprofessional conduct,” she said.

“Ms Masege rendered UJ’s report and made its recommendation in the purported exercise of public power using a CCMA template. That exercise of her power is unlawful and goes against section 1(c); 2; 9 ; 10 ; 22 and 34 of the Constitution Act 108 of 1996 - it offends the constitutional principle of legality,” said Matizirofa.

She said the outcome was used to dismiss her and Mafukidze was aware of this. Matizirofa said Mafukidze, falls squarely on bringing the profession into disrepute and had contravened the law by ensuring that the matter was placed before Mudau knowing that he was related to his client (Marwala).

Meanwhile, Masege appeared before the LPC on Wednesday, facing charges of misconduct, after using the CCMA template to dismiss Matizirofa.

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