Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
10 Jul 2015
3:00 pm

“Thieving” advocate can’t appeal striking off ruling

Ilse de Lange

An advocate who admitted to stealing money from clients has lost his bid to overturn a ruling striking him off the roll of advocates.

The pair had been charged with stock theft. Photo: Supplied

The Pretoria Society of Advocates in 2013 obtained an order, striking the name of Advocate Ralph Ndleve off the roll, but he lodged an appeal, claiming he was negotiating with the complainants to solve the matter and get them to withdraw the complaints against him.

The society alleged in court papers Ndleve had pretended to be an attorney even before he was admitted as an advocate in 2002, took instructions from several lay people without the intervention of an attorney to pursue their claims and took deposits of money from them. They alleged Ndleve was “dishonest in the worst degree” in stealing money supposed to be paid over to creditors of his clients.

They alleged Ndleve had commenced the dishonest practice of misleading lay clients in 2000 by stealing more than R72 000 supposed to be used to maintain the children of a deceased man. This meant he already knew he was a thief when he alleged he was a fit and proper person to be admitted as an advocate, the society said. Ndleve admitted in court he had stolen the money.

The Pretoria High Court this week dismissed his application for leave to appeal against the striking off order, saying it was ludicrous to suggest that the society should abandon its action against him because he was trying to reimburse those he stole from.

“… Even when the thief of money repaid all the money he stole, he still gets charged and goes to prison for the theft,” acting judge Piet Ebersohn said.

Ndleve’s complaint that the court had not come to his assistance to meet the complaints against him was equally ludicrous, he added.

Judge Ebersohn said the court could not close its eyes to the fact that Ndleve was, on his own admission, a thief who abused the trust of the public and stole money from various people. The public was entitled to be protected against him.

There was clearly no prospects of another court coming to a different conclusion, the court concluded.