In his column of 10 June, Adriaan Basson says the following about Seth Nthai, the disbarred advocate: "This is all nice and well, and Nthai may really have acknowledged the error of his ways, but does that make him suitable to practice as an advocate again?"
Clearly, it does not.
The reason is that if Nthai is simply forgiven by the legal fraternity because he owned up, said sorry and promised not to accept bribes again, the (legal) bar is set too low (no pun intended) in South Africa and it opens the door for others recently disbarred, like Nomgcobo Jiba, who held a key position at the NPA, to make come-backs to critical decision-making positions in our public life in which only people with the highest levels of integrity should be serving.
And yes, Basson is right when he points out in South Africa, it's an independent judiciary and unwavering media that "saved us from falling off the state capture cliff". As Basson says, it was indeed journalists and judges who exposed and punished Nkandla, Guptagate and Bosasa. With the role that judges played in these exposures, and hopefully will continue to play in future, it's certainly disconcerting that there are still two judges somewhere willing to see Nthai being reinstated as an advocate after taking a bribe. It's comforting to know their decision is now being challenged in a higher court.