VIDEO: Local advocate assaulted in Tonga

He was kicked to the ground by the angry mob.

TONGA – A well-known local advocate fears returning to the Nkomazi Magistrate’s Court after he was assaulted by a group of community members while exiting the court building last Thursday.

Mr Nico du Plessis represents two men accused of kidnapping a three-year-old girl on November 29. Although Lutricia Nkentjane’s body has not yet been found, they have also been charged with her murder. The court appearance of Messrs Luis Sithole, Sfiso Mazibe, Themba Myambo and Jabulani Ndlovu was brief and resulted in a postponement to January 27.

Du Plessis left the building after having represented Myambo and Ndlovu. He was mauled by a large group of community members. The advocate was kicked until he fell down, and when he tried to get back onto his feet, a man grabbed him by the tie and dragged him back down.

Police came to Du Plessis’ rescue and took him back into the courthouse.

Du Plessis said he would consider opening a case of assault after the incident and that he felt incredibly unsafe. He added that he would appreciate not having to return to the Nkomazi Magistrate’s Court for this case. An informed source said the other accused were represented by attorneys from the Legal Aid Board of South Africa.

On January 13 the board indicated that its employees felt unsafe representing their clients in Tonga. Legal representatives at the local branch declined to comment.

Helene Eloff
Legal Adviser & Journalist

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