Zondo lambastes Mpofu conduct for telling Gordhan, advocate to 'shut up'

The incident unfolded on Tuesday evening when Mpofu, appearing for former South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner, Tom Moyane, had cross-examined Gordhan and Gordhan’s counsel, Michelle le Roux, was re-examining the Cabinet minister.

FILE: Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo is seen during a session of the commission of inquiry into state capture in Johannesburg on 16 November 2020. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has lambasted senior counsel Dali Mpofu for telling another advocate and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan to "shut up" and refusing to sit down when he instructed him to do so.

The incident unfolded on Tuesday evening when Mpofu, appearing for former South African Revenue Service (Sars) commissioner, Tom Moyane, had cross-examined Gordhan and Gordhan’s counsel, Michelle le Roux, was re-examining the Cabinet minister.

Zondo said that Mpofu’s conduct was unacceptable.

"I have never heard any lawyer in any court proceedings or in any commission or forum tell another lawyer to shut up – or a witness."

The deputy Chief Justice said that Mpofu’s conduct was unacceptable.

He referred to rules laid down by the General Council of the Bar of South Africa, on which Mpofu served. The rules govern the professional conduct of advocates.

"Such conduct cannot be tolerated, it impacts on the dignity of the commission and is taken in a serious light, not least because the proceedings of this judicial commission of inquiry are televised for the public."

Zondo said that as commission chairperson, it was his right to decide who spoke and for how long.

He announced no sanction against Mpofu but issued a warning.

"I may have to consider in due course what to do in the future if a witness, or an implicated person, or his or her lawyer, is not prepared to subject themselves to the authority and the instructions of the chairperson."

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