Prominent Polokwane lawyer Tumi Mokwena has lodged an urgent application in the Limpopo High Court for the suspension of a liquidation order against his law firm, TMC Incorporated.
On December 12, 2019, Judge Frans Kgomo issued the order after a protracted legal battle over unpaid debt with local businessman Sthembiso Bosch.
Bosch successfully argued that Mokwena, representing his law firm, had failed on numerous occasions to honour an agreement for the repayment of the debt which was made an order of court.
In 2014, Bosch, through the Majola Trust of which he is a trustee, paid R1.5m into TMC Incorporated’s trust account for a property transaction which did not materialise. But the money has not been returned to him.
However, in his answering affidavit, Mokwena contended that the R1.5m was not paid into the trust account of his law firm within the context of an attorney-client relationship.
‘This is an error’
In court papers filed in the application for the suspension of the order, Mokwena blamed lawyer Floyd Legodi, saying he flouted court rules when he withdrew as his attorney of record just hours before the matter was heard in December.
“The requirements of Rule 16(4)(a) are compulsory and are intended to protect the party whose attorney is withdrawing from procedural abuse, similar to the one suffered by the applicant herein.
“This is an error or an erroneous fact which was not brought to the attention of the court,” Mokwena said.
He also said the execution of the order before the final determination would constitute a reasonable infringement of the right to have his firm run its business.
“Therefore, the execution of the order hereof will oust the applicant’s right to pursue the rescission process,” Mokwena said.