The Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) has dismissed an application by a man to declare as unfit an attorney who failed to convince the man's estranged wife to return to their marital home.

An IoL report says the wife, M Keele, left G Keele in September 2019, and filed for divorce the following month.

She was represented by Kagiso Mangaliso Mafungo.

G accused her of deserting him and said he suffered great indignity and depression as a result. He held that M failed to obtain his consent to leave the matrimonial home and he remained entitled to his conjugal rights.

He further added that his wife’s departure from the matrimonial home was without legal standing and without legal basis. 

He instructed his attorney to compel his wife to return to the matrimonial home and to reconcile with him, but M was not prepared to do so.

G then approached his wife’s lawyer, Mafungo, and demanded that he convince her to return. Mafungo did not take instructions and indicated that M had told him that she was not prepared to return.

G then questioned Mafungo’s qualifications, experience, skills and abilities.

He was also of the view that Mafungo was not qualified to mediate and/or draft parenting plans after he had presented him with a parenting plan as advised by Mbali. 

The husband filed a complaint against Mafungo with the Legal Practice Council (LPC) alleging ‘unprofessional conduct’, the IOL report continues.

The LPC, however, said the nature of his complaint did not fall within the scope of their powers of investigation.

He then approached the High Court where Judge J Sardiwalla said G’s advances toward Mafungo totally disregard and seek to undermine the wife’s rights to independent legal counsel.

‘The applicant (G) prioritises his own interests and seeks to procure the assistance of the second respondent (Mafungo) in prioritising his interests at the expense of the second respondent’s client,’ said the judge.

Sardiwalla said G’s conduct was reprehensible, inconsistent and incompatible with M’s rights to access the court through an independent legal practitioner.

The judge dismissed G’s application and ordered him to pay the costs.

Full IoL report