Tembeka Ngcukaitobi set to become a senior counsel after just eight years

24 May 2019 - 14:08
By Nomahlubi Jordaan
Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi is set to become a senior counsel.
Image: Gallo Images Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi is set to become a senior counsel.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi has been recommended to be made a senior counsel just eight years after becoming an advocate.

Ngcukaitobi posted a screenshot on social media of a congratulatory message from the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

"The Nelson Mandela Foundation would like to congratulate Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi for earning the legal status of senior counsel," the message reads.

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U Mandela uthi ayihlome ihlasele!

A post shared by Tembeka Ngcukaitobi (@tembekangcukaitobi) on

Speaking to TimesLIVE on Friday, Ngcukaitobi explained that the decision to recommend him for the silk status was taken last Saturday "after an extensive and gruelling process, which included an application process by me, comments by all counsel at the Johannesburg Bar, comments from judges that I have appeared before and an interview by the silks committee of the Bar Council". 

Ngcukaitobi said he was one of 14 advocates to be recommended.

The usual period is 12 years before one can be considered for appointment as an SC. 

Ngcukaitobi will use the words senior counsel once President Cyril Ramaphosa ratifies the Bar Council's decision.

Asked what the achievement meant to him, Ngcukaitobi said: "For me personally, it is a satisfying but daunting moment. But I think it also sends a message that it is possible to overcome structural barriers in a profession which is traditionally dominated by white men and persons with access to privilege.

"But there is a lot still to be done, a lot of challenges lie ahead, and it is somewhat daunting to think that clients will come to me to obtain services of a senior counsel," Ngcukaitobi said.

His advice to aspiring lawyers was: "Hard work, perseverance, humility, self-starting and self-challenging. Do not be satisfied with your performance, work harder than you did yesterday, but respect your work and your clients."