Dali Mpofu (Gallo Images)
“I have never heard any lawyer in any proceedings or at any commission or forum tell another lawyer to shut up.”
With these words State Capture Commission chair Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Thursday slammed the “most inappropriate” utterances of Advocate Dali Mpofu, when he told Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s legal practitioner to “shut up” during proceedings earlier this week.
The matter relates to Tuesday’s proceedings at the commission, when Mpofu, representing former SA Revenue Service commissioner Tom Moyane, was cross-examining Gordhan and Zondo advised that the proceedings be rounded up. When Gordhan attempted to make an input, there was an exchange between Mpofu and Advocate Michelle le Roux, where he proceeded to say “shut up” as he insisted on making his point.
On Thursday, Zondo sought to outline the rules of the commission and the rights that legal practitioners and the chair of the commission have. He said that while the chair of the commission had the powers to allow of disallow anyone from speaking during proceedings, Mpofu’s language was inappropriate.
“Mr Mpofu was told by me to sit down at a certain stage. He was not the first legal practitioner that I have told to sit down at this commission,” said Zondo before proceeding to name three other practitioners.
“It is my duty to ensure the proceedings of this commission proceed in a smooth manner and when I decide that someone ought to speak, it will be me. No legal practitioner, including Mr Mpofu, has the right to tell anyone in this commission to shut up. That right belongs to the chair and even I would never use the words ‘shut up’. That conduct is unacceptable,” said Zondo.
During the Thursday proceedings the commission heard evidence from South African Revenue Service (SARS) executive for product oversight Vlok Symington and former SARS official Johann Van Loggenberg.