'She has insulted me in court': Vicki Momberg's lawyer wants to quit

The relationship between the country's first convicted racist Vicki Momberg and her lawyer has broken down.
The relationship between the country's first convicted racist Vicki Momberg and her lawyer has broken down.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday TImes

Convicted racist Vicki Momberg might have to find another lawyer after a relationship breakdown has left her attorney feeling "insulted".

Kingdom Onah told the Randburg magistrate's court on Wednesday that his office had resolved to withdraw as Momberg's attorney of record after she failed to give further instructions in preparation for her upcoming appeal in the high court.

The former estate agent was caught on camera hurling the k-word at black police officers and 10111 operators after she was the victim of a smash-and-grab incident in 2016. She used the k-word more than 48 times. The clip went viral and Momberg was arrested.

In March 2018‚ she was sentenced to three years in prison‚ one of which was suspended‚ on condition she was not found guilty of a similar crime within three years.

Momberg is currently out on R2‚000 bail‚ pending the outcome of her appeal. She was released in August 2018 after serving four months of a two-year sentence.

Onah told the court that Momberg had ignored several requests to get an undertaking from an advocate to represent her during the appeal in March. "I wish to bring an application to withdraw as attorney of record in the matter. We sent a letter requesting a signed brief from the said advocate but it was not forthcoming‚" said Onah.

"We have submitted all the paperwork at the high court‚ except heads of argument."

In a letter to Momberg‚ dated November 14 and read to the court‚ Onah reminded her that she had not given his office a signed copy of the brief to an advocate prepared to handle the appeal on a pro bono basis.

"Considering that we have not received any response on the aforementioned correspondence‚ Onah Attorneys Incorporated has resolved to withdraw its services and as such shall henceforth deliver its notice of withdrawal as attorneys of record‚" the letter read.

Onah said he represented Momberg on a pro bono basis and wanted her advocate to do the same.

"We gave her sufficient time. A notice of withdrawal was sent to her and the high court in November. That is more than three months‚" he said.

Momberg said it was late for Onah to withdraw. "I have to brief another lawyer‚" she said.

She accused Onah of being incompetent. "I'm not happy with him as an attorney because of various incompetencies‚" she said.

She also claimed that Onah had asked for money on a previous occasion‚ despite doing the case on a pro bono basis.

Magistrate Pravina Raghunandan ordered Momberg to bring a letter from her advocate confirming that he would represent her.

Momberg insisted that an advocate was happy to represent her‚ but "he can't put himself on record without an attorney".

The court is yet to make an order on whether to release Onah. Raghunandan stood the matter down for Momberg to bring a letter from her advocate‚ which she said she had at home.

Speaking outside court‚ Onah insisted that he was withdrawing. "I still want to withdraw because she has insulted me in court. This is someone I helped to get bail‚" he said.

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