Bakgatla paramount chief Kgosi Kgolo Kgafela has changed his attorneys in his ongoing legal battles, ousting Saadiq Kebonang and Sidney Pilane and roping in former High Court Judge Unity Dow and former Senior Magistrate Banyatsi Mmekwa.
Kgafela, his young brother, Mmusi, and 13 others are facing assault charges related to floggings in Kgatleng.
In another case the President of the Customary Court of Appeal, Mothibe Lentswe, and seven other tribesmen, are facing charges of allegedly destroying a Mascom cellular phone transmitter in Mochudi. Kgafela also has a pending case before High Court Judge David Newman related to the flogging of two pastors from the Family of Cod Church.
Kgafela said he cannot comment on the change of counsel at the moment. But Unity Dow later told Sunday Standard that she now represents the Bakgatla royals. She, however, said her presence does not necessarily exclude Pilane and Kebonang as they are all working as a team.
“We only wanted to pool legal brains so that we can represent our clients effectively. This does not mean that others are excluded. They will continue working with us and serving in different capacities, especially because these cases are complex and multi faceted,” she said.
Kebonang also explained that they chose to engage independent counsel to represent Kgafela and his brother for the main reason that Mmusi Kgafela is a partner in Kebonang Kgafela attorneys.
“We are an interested party in this matter, and we felt it will be in our best interests to engage different counsel,” he said. He, however, could not explain Pilane‘s absence from the defense team.
Kebonang said they feared that the case would take too much of their time, especially since a partner is one of the accused. He said they have a lot of cases that they need to attend to, and they found it fit to engage independent counsel, lest they neglect other responsibilities.