The government legal bill for the labour case initially outsourced to Collins Newman & Co is expected to balloon because the law firm has, in turn, outsourced the case to Advocates Themeka and Anton Myburgh Senior Counsels from the Johannesburg Bar.
The case, in which government employees are challenging their dismissal last year, was taken away from the Attorney General’s Chambers and outsourced to Collins Newman & Co because they are reported to be labour law experts.
In a bizarre twist, the firm has itself outsourced somebody else’s services.
Collins Newman & Co will bill government for acting as instructing attorneys, legalese for middlemen; a task which could have been performed by Attorney General’s Chambers.
In an interesting turn of events, Collins Newman & Co, representing the government, last Friday wrote to Rantao Kewagamang Attorneys for the dismissed workers explaining that government intends to file a supplementary affidavit.
The supplementary affidavit is believed to be the fancy workmanship of advocates Themeka and Anton Myburgh.
“We are conscious that your Senior Counsel may be in the process of preparing Heads of Argument for filing by 30 April. Given our client’s stated intention, we suggest that your Counsel should not finalise the Heads of Argument until such time as he has received our supplementary Affidavit and your clients have responded thereto,” wrote Laurence Khupe of Collins Newman & Co.
The workers’ lawyers have indicated that they will oppose the application: “We advise that we are under instructions to oppose your client’s intended application to file a supplementary affidavit at this stage. Our Senior Counsel has, in any event, finalized his Heads of Argument,” Rantao Kewagamang Attorneys wrote back.
Despite repeated attempts from The Telegraph, Parks Tafa of Collins Newman & Co could not explain what informed the decision by his law firm to outsource legal services when the government has also outsourced the same to his company.
The Attorney General Dr. Ataliah Molokomme has previously said that there was nothing wrong with the government outsourcing legal services to Collins Newman & Co saying the government has outsourced legal services to other law firms in the past. She said the firm had a lot of experience on labour matters.