The Constitutional Court has advised the Pretoria Society of Advocates to take steps to stop an advocate who has been struck off the roll from bombarding the court with an unavailing stream of litigation and from appearing in courts on behalf of clients.
The court today dismissed the latest in a series of former advocate Ralph Ndleve’s applications for leave to appeal against a June 2013 order granted in the High Court in Pretoria, striking his name of the roll of advocates.
The Society applied to have him struck off after receiving a series of at least six complaints against him, including taking instructions and money from lay clients without the intervention of an attorney and stealing money intended for his clients’ creditors.
Ndleve’s bid for leave to appeal on the grounds that he did not receive a fair hearing was last year dismissed with costs by the high court, which noted that Ndleve had confessed to stealing money from his clients.
The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) subsequently also dismissed his application for leave to appeal with costs and Ndleve then launched five different applications in the Constitutional Court in a bid to appeal against the striking off order against him.
The Constitutional Court Judges dismissed his four previous applications for leave to appeal as bearing no prospects of success and said the present application was no different.
Ndleve alleged a transcript of his initial hearing before the high court demonstrated an infringement of his rights, but the Constitutional Court said this was nonsensical, as he had provided the same transcripts in two previous applications, both of which were dismissed.
“The only conclusion that can be drawn is that the applicant is peppering this court with repeated applications, each entirely devoid of merits, simply to stave off the coming effect of the order striking him from the Roll of Advocates,” the Judges said.
They noted with “deep concern” that Ndleve appears to have continued practising as an advocate despite being struck from the roll.
This became clear from an unrelated application lodged in the Constitutional Court, which mentioned Ndleve as counsel for the accused in the lower courts.
The judges said Ndleve’s appearance in that case was unlawful and endangered the fairness of the criminal proceedings in which he appeared.
His conduct not only bordered on contempt of court,but was certainly unethical, as the purpose of a striking off order was not simply punishment but the protection of the public, they added.
They also expressed concern that Ndleve’s name still appeared on the roll of advocates last month.