News that senior EFF member Dali Mpofu has joined advocate Thabani Masuku’s legal team representing former president Jacob Zuma in his corruption trial caused an uproar on Wednesday.
Zuma appeared in the Pietermaritzburg High Court where his fraud and corruption trial was postponed to 19 July 2021.
The former president has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
Mpofu joining Zuma’s legal team landed him on the Twitter trends list, with some questioning his decision to defend Zuma.
However, there are those who have defended him, including EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, who said Mpofu can defend whoever he wants.
“It is @AdvDali_Mpofu’s right to legally represent whoever he chooses to represent. He’s represented CR17 factions, Thandi Modise, Supra Mahumapelo, Patricia De Lille, Bantu Holomisa’s UDM, Ace Magashule. He’s not doing so on behalf of the EFF. He’s doing it as an Advocate SC,” said Shivambu, to which Fikile Mbalula responded: “Absolutely.”
It is @AdvDali_Mpofu’s right to legally represent whoever he chooses to represent. He’s represented CR17 factions, Thandi Modise, Supra Mahumapelo, Patricia De Lille, Bantu Holomisa’s UDM, Ace Magashule. He’s not doing so on behalf of the EFF. He’s doing it as an Advocate SC.
— Floyd Shivambu (@FloydShivambu) May 26, 2021
Mpofu’s choice of clients has been questioned before, with EFF leader Julius Malema previously saying it was not the party’s place to tell him who to represent.
At a party press conference in Braamfontein in 2018, Malema said though the EFF disagreed with some of Mpofu’s clients, they could not tell him not to do his job as an advocate.
“We fight with Dali a lot. We didn’t want Dali to take Gareth Cliff. He’s a lawyer; he said no, you can’t tell me what to do. He came to us on [Tom] Moyane and we remembered our discussions and we said: ‘You know what, it’s your call. We don’t want to be workshopped here about justice and all that,'” Malema said at the time.
Dali Mpofu as EFF: Zuma pay back the money!!
Dali Mpofu as a lawyer: My client (Zuma) is innocent.
WTF is going on?? pic.twitter.com/YJmIEssV2V
— Phalo (@BongzTheGreat) May 26, 2021
And he supported Mpofu’s argument that he could not refuse to represent Moyane because of the party’s political differences with him.
“Some of the doctors which are treating president Jacob Zuma are EFF members. Some of the drivers of Zuma from the VIP protection … for sure they are EFF members. Some of the cleaners for Zuma in his houses, for sure they’re EFF members. But they know they’ve got a duty to provide services,” he said.
“Leave the ethical nonsense. Every time we are told of ethics and codes. These people must still provide to their families and to themselves. We might wake up tomorrow to find Dali representing Zuma, there’s nothing the EFF can do about it.
This is awkward. pic.twitter.com/AtF3xjA6Vc
— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) May 26, 2021
“If you respect this Constitution and democracy, separate justice from emotions. All of them deserve to be represented. If the national chairperson of the EFF thinks it’s the right thing to do and he has made the call, it is his call. We can only lament about it; we fight with him a lot. He does the same with all of us about this or that issue, but at the end of the day, it is his call.”
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