Lawyer Thuli Madonsela.
- Lawyer Thuli Madonsela has apologized for a tweet suggesting Legal Aid South Africa is encouraging clients to plead guilty in court cases.
- The organization said it had not received a request for representation from Zandile Mafe, who was accused of torching Parliament.
- Mafe is due again in court on Tuesday.
Lawyer Thuli Madonsela apologized to Legal Aid South Africa for a tweet implying that the organization’s lawyers were encouraging clients to confess instead of fighting charges in court.
Earlier this week, Madonsela wrote on Twitter that she was curious how Zandile Mafe, accused of torching Parliament, had managed to find a private lawyer.
She said being introduced by a private attorney meant “withdrawing it. [Mafe] State legal aid in the event of a risk of confession “.
Mafe, who is represented by lawyer Luyolo Godla, is due to return to court on Tuesday. He faces charges of break and enter with intent to steal, theft, two counts of arson, possession of an explosive device and destruction of critical infrastructure.
I wondered how it was possible to quickly organize a private lawyer for homeless Zandile Mafe, thus removing him from legal aid in the state where there was a risk of confession. I’m curious what those who are 100% sure that he’s innocent know that we don’t know #AttackParliament https://t.co/v0htc8yU13
– Prof Thuli Madonsela #SocialJustice (@ ThuliMadonsela3) January 5, 2022
In a statement released Friday, Legal Aid SA defended its lawyers, saying they offer “independent, accessible and quality legal aid services in criminal and civil matters”.
She added that she had not received a nomination to represent Mafe.
“All Legal Aid SA practitioners are committed to representing their clients to the best of their ability and providing them with the best possible defense, including ensuring that clients do not get involved and are treated as innocent until that their guilt is proven by a fair trial. in court. “
The organization said its lawyers represented clients without fear or favor.
“Failure to do so exposes the lawyer to disciplinary action by the Legal Practice Council. The commitment to providing quality legal services is a commitment the organization takes seriously, as the outcome of cases impacts the lives of the clients we serve. Clients provide their version of events to their legal practitioner, which the practitioner then presents to the court. “
Mandosela responded by apologizing to the body on Saturday with a tweet:
“I regret that my tweet was interpreted as denigrating the excellent work you are doing to advance and strengthen access to justice,” Madonsela said.