While it is intriguing that former president Jacob Zuma decided to end his relationship with Michael Hulley, a man known to do his legal dirty work for over a decade, it is also interesting to see who took his place.
If there is a State Capture check list for the most captured South African by the Guptas, Dan Mantsha would be high up there – perhaps only beaten by Mosebenzi Zwane. The Gupta emails revealed how this attorney was hand-picked by the notorious family and cultivated into the man who would essentially hand over the keys of a vital state-owned institution-state arms company, Denel, to the Guptas and their associates.
Mantsha appeared on the national stage a while back, in 2007, when a court found that he was not a fit and proper person to practise as an attorney and he was struck off the roll of lawyers. The ruling came after a litany of complaints made against him by clients. In the 2007 judgment, the court went as far as saying that the public needed to be protected from him.
It is unclear whether it was the lack of state funding or a personal fallout over legal strategy that led to Zuma’s firing of Hulley. When Hulley appeared for Zuma in his last court appearance in June in his criminal case, it was unclear who would pay him. Zuma also could not respond to the civil cases around the state’s continued funding of defence because he didn’t know who would foot the bill.