Advocates for Transformation (AFT) have dismissed allegations of improper behaviour against advocate Mahlape Sello SC.

Sello was one of the Section 89 panel members who determined that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala dealings may have violated the Constitution and anti-corruption laws.

According to AFT chairperson Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, the allegation appeared to centre on Sello previously acting for former ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule in a case against the party and Ramaphosa.

Last year, Magashule challenged his suspension in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg.

“The Advocates for Transformation has taken note of the gratuitous media commentary questioning whether advocate Mahlape Sello SC should have accepted the brief to become a member of the panel established by the Speaker of Parliament, in terms of Section 89 of the Constitution, into certain allegations against the President [Cyril Ramaphosa],” Ngcukaitobi said.

He said Sello’s “innuendo of improper conduct” was unfounded and regrettable.

After the DA and EFF raised concerns about Sello’s participation, he was replaced on the panel by legal academic and political commentator Richard Calland.

The complaints centred on Calland’s perceived bias toward Ramaphosa in his work as a political commentator. “When advocates accept briefs, they must act independently and fearlessly, and they must not yield to political pressure. Personal attacks on advocates undermine their ability to act independently and in accordance with their obligations to their clients and the law “He stated.

Sello stated to the Daily Maverick: “The panel is highly inappropriate because it has completed its tasks without you raising this before. I have nothing to say.”

Sello has been contacted by News24, and her response will be posted as soon as it is received.

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