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Advocate Thembi P Bokako

Capacity: Advocate
Gender: Female
Ethnicity: Black
Date of Birth: March 1968
Qualifications: LLB (University of Zululand), LLM (Vritjie University Netherlands), MBA (Regenesys Business School)

Key judgments:

Candidate Bio:

Johannesburg-born Advocate Thembi Bokako’s commitment to law started in her days as a law student at the University of Zululand. So respected by her fellow students, Bokako was often asked by those facing disciplinary hearings to represent them before the University of Zululand Disciplinary Committee. The students,  moved by her fairness and justice, later advised her to vie for the presidential seat in the student representative council (SRC). She heeded the call and was elected as the first woman SRC President of the University of Zululand.

Advocate Thembi Bokako has had an interesting career trajectory. Starting as an administrative officer in the City of Johannesburg. she worked on complex financial services regulatory law – a testament to her hard work. Advocate Bokako then served her pupillage at the Johannesburg Bar of Advocates in 2003 under the Duma Nokwe Groups of Advocates. This group was formed to assist young advocates from previously disadvantaged backgrounds to help find their way in the advocates’ profession.

In 2004, she started her own practice, focussing on civil litigation, criminal litigation and financial services matters. It was in this time she met Advocate Ismail SC, who mentored her in matters involving the General Code of Conduct for Financial Services Providers.  Because of this work, Advocate Bokako was often briefed on financial regulatory matters by financial services providers and the financial services ombudsman on investigations.

After two years at the Bar, Advocate Bokako received a scholarship, on the generosity of Professor Hedrik Jan De Ru, to further her studies at Vritjie University Netherlands, where she completed an LLM in International Law.

Her colleagues acknowledge her work ethic and attention to detail, as displayed in the South African Legal Practice Council v Teffo. Where the LPC brought the application to remove Advocate Maselela Teffo from the legal practitioners’ roll, for unprofessional and dishonorable conduct, unbefitting an advocate of the high court. This application followed a series of damning allegations levelled at the questionable conduct of Advocate Teffo.  Bokako with Judge Nyathi ordered that the respondent, Advocate Teffo, to be struck off the roll.

The respondent, Advocate Teffo was running a practice that sourced clients without the instruction of attorneys. Advocate Teffo was interdicted by the high court from entering the premises of the Provincial Office of the South African Police in Gauteng, after threatening and harassing Brigadier Beukes and Colonel Smit – while he was representing an ex-SAPS member in an arbitration matter. So brazen was his conduct that he put a matter that was opposed on the unopposed roll in an attempt to mislead the court and secure a default judgment. The State Attorney’s office upon discovery his action brought it to the attention of the judge set to preside over the matter. Advocate Teffo then went on a rampage to harass, trespass and intimidate the state attorney involved in the matter, which resulted in a complaint being filed against him.

In her judgment, Bokako referenced the importance of legal practitioners, and advocates being accountable for client’s monies by keeping proper accounting records. She went further to assert that legal practitioners should at all times conduct themselves with utmost honesty and integrity. Bokako reminded the legal practitioners that they are all officers of the court:

“Legal practitioners, whether practicing advocates or attorneys, are the officers of the high court. They are admitted by the court which authorizes their enrolment in the practice in which they are qualified, and they owe a special ethical duty to the court. The high court retains the oversight over their conduct and the jurisdiction to pronounce on matters concerning their conduct. To this extent, they practice under the auspice of the high court.”

Advocate Bokako holds an LLB, LLM and an MBA. In 2018, she started acting in the Gauteng Division of the High Court and took part in the Aspirant Women Judges Programme.

April 2023 interview

Adv Thembi Precious Bokako’ s interview for a position in the Gauteng Division of the High Court was unsuccessful.