Deputy minister of justice and constitutional development John Jeffery said: “It is important to stress that the right to legal representation is fundamental. Every person has the right to have their case heard before a court of law. Legal practitioners represent their clients and the rights of their clients. They cannot and should not ever be harassed and intimated for doing their jobs.
“Furthermore, Seri is a non-profit human rights organisation. Any attack on a human rights organisation is an attack on democracy itself.”
ActionSA president Herman Mashaba defended his party's councillor, saying Mbundu had merely shared a Seri press statement on Twitter “to challenge falsehoods communicated by Seri relating to a legal case against the City of Johannesburg”. It was Seri itself that included the names and contact numbers of their personnel on the press statement, he said.
“Any claim that Mbundu shared the statement with the intention to do anything other than speak on behalf of the City of Johannesburg government, of which he is an MMC, is false, malicious and without foundation.”
He added Mbundu was acting “within his council-approved mandate to implement the informal trading bylaw” and could not be held liable for the “deeply regrettable” messages and threats sent to the Seri team.
“ActionSA does not support any person being threatened or intimidated for the exercise of their constitutionally-enshrined freedoms.”