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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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'Everyone has deserted me'

By Getrude Makhafolamakhafolag@sowetan.co.za | Aug 18, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

A WAR of words has erupted between the Young Communist League, Lokwe Attorneys and their client Kabelo Thibedi.

A WAR of words has erupted between the Young Communist League, Lokwe Attorneys and their client Kabelo Thibedi.

Thibedi, 25, was convicted in the Johannesburg magistrates court in 2005 for pointing a toy gun at a Home Affairs official, demanding his ID.

He was sentenced to five years but is appealing.

"Everyone has deserted me," Thibedi says. "The lawyers have sent me a letter saying I owe them more than R55000 in legal fees.

"I do not even know when the next court appearance is because my lawyer refuses to talk to me."

Sowetan is in possession of the letter sent to Thibedi in February this year.

In the letter Xoliswa Zanazo, acting on behalf of Lokwe Attorneys, details Thibedi's expenses in the magistrate's court and high court of appeal, and asks Thibedi to "kindly" settle the account.

Thibedi says he had not heard anything from the YCL and does not know who is in charge of the trust.

He says: "This case has put my life on hold. I do not have a job and I have no money to study further either."

The YCL took him under its wing and set up a trust called the Justice for Kabelo Thibedi Trust to raise funds to cover his legal fees.

Different tune

YCL chairperson Bhuti Manamela used to accompany Thibedi to court.

Thibedi later became the organisation's national campaigns officer with the aim of helping people struggling to get IDs.

He says he only worked for a year at the YCL and received a stipend not a salary.

His lawyer, Japhta Mphahlane, denies the allegations and says the firm has never discussed fees with Thibedi.

"Thibedi has always received our support and we have been representing him in court for free," Mphahlane says.

When asked who pays the legal fees Mphahlane says he cannot discuss the matter because is confidential.

Manamela says it is not true that Thibedi owes the lawyers money.

"Thibedi is probably frustrated because the case is taking too long. We still give him our full support," he says.

He cannot say how much is in the trust or who administers it.

But a woman at the leagues offices, who gives her name only as Motshidi, says Manamela is in charge of the trust.


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