NEWS
11/07/2018 06:08 SAST | Updated 11/07/2018 06:08 SAST

From Limpopo To The Union Buildings And Beyond: The Rise Of Dan Mantsha

Mantsha has had a long and bumpy road to becoming former president Jacob Zuma's new lawyer.

Lungisani Daniel Mantsha, who was appointed as former president Jacob Zuma's lawyer this week, has a long history in the law fraternity. But his rise from the modest surroundings of Limpopo to the corridors of government, has not been without controversy.

A biography posted online by Mantsha's former employer, Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown, when he was appointed chairperson of the Denel board in 2014, says that he obtained a BJuris in 1991, and an LLB degree in 1993, both from the University of Venda.

In 2004, he was suspended from practising law pending the outcome of an application by the Law Society of the Northern Provinces to have him struck from the roll of attorneys.

According to the judgment from 2007, Mantsha did not actually deny the allegations against him, but he said they were not serious enough for him to be struck from the attorneys' roll. They included accounting irregularities in his firm and an attempt to purchase clothing with cheques from his firm's trust, which ultimately bounced.

There were several complaints against him, including from several clients who said they had been given unsatisfactory representation by him.

He was ultimately readmitted on to the roll in 2011. The Law Society of the Northern Provinces confirmed this in a statement in 2015, when concerns were raised about his fitness to appear as a witness before Parliament's portfolio committee on communications.

The #GuptaLeaks tranche of emails reportedly showed that Mantsha showed sensitive information about a proposed joint venture between a company part-owned by the Guptas and Denel.

In 2015, he was appointed as an adviser to then-minister of communications, Faith Muthambi.

The statement said Mantsha "is in good standing with the Law Society".

In 2017, TimesLive reported that Mantsha's relationship with the Guptas began shortly after he was appointed at Denel in July 2014.

The #GuptaLeaks tranche of emails reportedly showed that Mantsha showed sensitive information about a proposed joint venture between a company part-owned by the Guptas and Denel. That correspondence, marked "confidential", reportedly seems in favour of the venture.

Mantsha reportedly forwarded the email to Ashu Chawla, the CEO of Sahara, another one of the Guptas' companies.

The TimesLive report also states that Mantsha sent his municipal rates account for R14,238 to Chawla.

He also reportedly flew first class to Dubai in October 2015, and the ticket was sent be the travel agent concerned to Chawla.

Mantsha also has his own private practice, which specialises in everything from media, commercial, constitutional and aviation law. Notably absent from the firm's specialisations is criminal law.

It's not clear when the firm was founded, but a previous iteration of its website says it has been operational for two decades.