'It's his right to legally represent whoever he chooses': Shivambu on Dali Mpofu representing Zuma

27 May 2021 - 09:44
By unathi nkanjeni AND Unathi Nkanjeni
The EFF's Floyd Shivambu. File photo.
Image: Financial Mail The EFF's Floyd Shivambu. File photo.

EFF deputy leader Floyd Shivambu has slammed criticism of advocate Dali Mpofu for representing former president Jacob Zuma in court.

On Wednesday, many people expressed shock after it was confirmed that the former chairperson of the EFF was joining Zuma’s defence team in the arms deal corruption trial.

Mpofu represented Zuma on corruption and fraud charges in the Pietermaritzburg high court.

Zuma is facing charges of racketeering, two counts of corruption and 12 counts of fraud, nine of which are for allegedly submitting false income tax returns. He is charged along with French arms manufacturer Thales.

He pleaded not guilty to racketeering, corruption, fraud and money laundering and the trial has been postponed to July 19. 

On social media, Mpofu's addition to Zuma's defence team drew mixed reactions, with some questioning his decision to defend Zuma.

Coming to Mpofu's defence, Shivambu slammed critics, saying Mpofu can defend whoever he wants.

“It is Dali Mpofu’s right to legally represent whoever he chooses to represent,” said Shivambu.

“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,” he added.

Some EFF supporters also shared a video of EFF leader Julius Malema from 2018, where he could be heard saying that it was not the party's place to tell Mpofu who he could or could not represent in court.

“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 [former Sars commissioner 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.

Malema said Mpofu had a duty to provide services just like any other working citizen.

“Leave the ethical nonsense. Every time we are told of ethics and codes. These people must still provide for their families and themselves. We might wake up tomorrow to find Dali representing Zuma, there’s nothing the EFF can do about it,” he said.

In the video, Malema can also be heard saying that people should separate justice from emotions if they respect the constitution and democracy

“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,” said Malema.

Watch the video from 1:49:37 mark