The former advocate Malesela Teffo (53) appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on charges of assault, theft and intentional damage to property.
The complaints stem from an incident that took place on 29 July at the Protea Towers in Pretoria. Teffo rents office space in this building, which is owned by City Property. However, he was banned from entering the premises from 21 April.
Lumka Mahanjana, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), says it is alleged that Teffo went to the said building without permission on July 29, together with a person from a locksmith business.
“A security officer at the reception tried to stop Teffo from entering. However, he undermined the officer and went to his office. He broke into the office with the person from the locksmith business,” says Mahanjana.
“Another security officer who was on the scene and recorded the incident was allegedly assaulted by Teffo. The officer ran to the police station to report the incident. When he returned to the scene, Teffo was already gone and took the door handle with him.”
Teffo is also charged with fraud in a separate case.
According to Mahanjana, Teffo allegedly defrauded two complainants of R13 000 by pretending that he was going to offer them legal aid.
“On June 9, the two complainants approached Teffo for legal assistance in a case. Teffo apparently agreed to help them and asked that each pay R6 500 into his personal account. He then said that he would arrange a consultation with them. The complainants deposited the money into his account.
“When the complainants asked Teffo about the consultation, he allegedly ignored them.”
The complainants reported the matter to the legal practice board after a while and they were informed that Teffo no longer practised. It was then that the two reported the matter to the police.
Teffo was arrested on Tuesday and has been in custody since then.
“After Teffo’s arrest, it was recorded that he refused to cooperate with the police. He refused to let them take his fingerprints and to give his personal address.”
The magistrate ruled that Teffo must cooperate with the state by providing the requested information.
The case was adjourned until Monday so that Teffo’s address, profile and possible bail application can be finalised.
Teffo, once the legal representative of four of the five accused in the sensational murder of former Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa, was dropped from the role last year.
This after 22 allegations of misconduct were raised against Teffo at the legal practice council. These allegations include, among other things, contemptuous behavior in court, misleading the court and the misappropriation of money.
In May last year, still dressed in his gown, Teffo was handcuffed in the Pretoria High Court after a warrant for his arrest was issued.
Read more about the case here.