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Advocate Elsje-Marie Bezuidenhout SC

Capacity: Advocate
First admitted as advocate: 1999
Gender: Female
Ethnicity: White
Date of Birth: February 1969
Qualifications: B.Iuris (Pretoria) LLB (Unisa)

Key judgments:

Candidate Bio:

Advocate Elsje-Marié Bezuidenhout SC is regarded as a stalwart of the Pietermaritzburg Bar. She now wants elevation to the Bench as a judge of the KwaZulu-Natal High Court, Pietermaritzburg.

Bezuidenhoout started her legal career as an assistant administrative officer in the Department of Trade and Industry, where she was responsibility for company name registration and its related disputes. She later became a fraud prosecutor in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court, before eventually relocated with her family to Pietermaritzburg, where she joined the Bar as an advocate in 1999.

Bezuidenhout has had what is called a ‘generalist’ practice, which mixes several spheres of the law, including family law, criminal law, civil law, and the odd labour law matter. During her time at the Bar, she has served on numerous Bar Council committees, including on ethics and pupillage.

Since 2019 Bezuidenhout has held several acting stints at the KZN High Court in Pietermaritzburg and has dealt with a variety of cases, including family law, insolvency law, criminal law, and a R100 mil dispute between two friends of 20 year friendship (see: Le Sueur v Stainton and Another (2091/19P) [2021] ZAKZPHC 44 (28 July 2021) ).

In late 2019 Bezuidenhout sat in a 3-judge Bench which heard an application by the local branch of French arms company Thales, which is accused of paying bribes to former President Jacob Zuma in the notorious Arms Deal. In the application, Thales sought to overturn the decision by then National Director of Public Prosecutions, Adv Shaun Abrahams, to reinstate the racketeering charges against Thales (and Zuma).

Writing for a unanimous court, with two senior judges, Bezuidenhout found that Thales had failed to prove that Abrahams’s decisions that inconsistent with the principle of legality or otherwise invalid. Thales had argued that Abrahams’ decision to reinstate was irrational as, based on the financial information from Zuma and convicted fraudster Shabir Shaik, there was no way that Thales could have reasonably or probably paid racketeering bribes to Shaik and Zuma. Bezuidenhout rejected this argument.

Fifty-three year old Bezuidenhout holds a BComm degree from the University of Pretoria and an LLB from Unisa.

April 2022 Interview