Saturday, 30 April 2022 20:45

SA police service explain the arrest of defence lawyer Teffo.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) says it has noted the sentiments expressed by various stakeholders including the media, the legal fraternity as well as members of the public, pertaining to the execution of the warrant of arrest on Advocate Malesela Teffo at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Thursday.

After National Police Commissioner General Fannie Masemola announced that he would provide a full report on the circumstances leading to Teffo's arrest on Thursday, the police top brass on Saturday released a statement on the matter.

Police spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe said Masemola wished "to place the images depicted in the media into perspective".

According to the statement, Teffo was aware that a warrant of arrest had been issued against him because he was contacted by the investigating officer and they had proof of this in possession.

Mathe said that police struggled to trace the advocate to execute the warrant of arrest because he allegedly provided various residential addresses to secure his bail.

Teffo was previously arrested by police on charges of common assault and trespassing after allegedly assaulting a female officer member and entering the Saps Gauteng Provincial building, in contravention of a high court interdict prohibiting him from entering the premises.

He was granted R10,000 bail on Friday by the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court for failing to appear in court in January. The case was postponed to 27 May 2022.

Teffo failed to appear before the magistrate’s court on several occasions including on 27 January 2022, according to Saps. A warrant of arrest was then issued and withheld.

"The case was remanded to 10 February 2022. Advocate Teffo was again not in court, and bail was finally forfeited to the state.

"An instruction was then issued by the court for the warrant of arrest to be executed, "Mathe said.

Police said they visited the various residential addresses, Teffo allegedly previously provided to secure his bail, but could not trace his whereabouts as he no longer resided at the identified addresses.

"After being made aware that Advocate Teffo was appearing in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, the investigating officer in the matter consulted the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

"Following the advice of the DPP, the investigating officer would execute the warrant of arrest upon the adjournment of the matter [Senzo Meyiwa murder trial] so as not to disrupt the court proceedings in a separate matter, where the advocate is representing four of the five accused, "Mathe said.

Mathe said while the intention was to execute the warrant outside the courtroom, the manner in which the events unfolded made it challenging for police.

She said as advocate Teffo was about to leave the courtroom on Thursday, he was informed by the investigating officer of the execution of the warrant of arrest as well as informed of his rights.

But he went back into the courtroom and allegedly refused to cooperate, which eventually led to the Saps TRT members being called in.

According to the investigating officer, as soon as the court adjourned, the investigating officer approached the advocate who was making his way towards the court door.

"It is important to highlight that after informing the advocate of the execution of the warrant of arrest and informing him of his rights, the advocate went back into the courtroom.

"The investigating officer then followed him back inside the courtroom in a bid to ensure that the latter complies with the contents of the warrant of arrest. Advocate Teffo did not cooperate with the investigating officer which warranted the call for the assistance of the Tactical Response Team (TRT) members who were already posted in the same court for escort duties."

Mathe said police have a responsibility to arrest a suspect in order to secure his/her attendance in court, and that is what they did on Thursday in the high court.