After university, and after completing his board exams, Thato was now ripe: a perfect instrument for corporate and private interests.
Advocate Luthuli had polished and cut the objectionable rough edges off him. His first few law cases came under the microscopic supervision of his mentor.
And to his discomfort and surprise he found himself defending corrupt people from unpalatable, shady backgrounds. As time passed, he grew, shaped within the mould Edward had made for him. He stopped questioning the morality of the cases, became a tool in the service of the corrupt, as long as it paid handsomely and gained him notoriety.
As he rose to fame, he tried to push aside any conscience he still had, and silence the nagging guilt that whispered in his head with every case of corruption he defended. He was a puppet, dancing energetically to the tune and whims of his masters.
His career was stratospheric and he was becoming infamous, more notorious with each case on his rise to fame. The more cases he won, the more sought-after he became.
He was very shrewd and articulate now. He thought out his moves like a grand master moving his pieces across a chess board. The price of his services escalated.
His clientele were mostly corrupt politicians and corporate entities that had evaded taxation and had wronged communities. Without batting an eyelid, he gladly helped them. He cut deserved sentences shorter; amended compensations downward for wronged parties; acquitted his clients or sometimes got them off with a slap of the wrist, a small fine.
To Thato the world was now at his feet and he could do as he liked. He drove the cars he’d dreamed of, owned several estates, and felt he’d finally made it, become what he’d always wanted to be – respected, revered. Someone like Edward Luthuli.
But at the back of his mind, his past still haunted him. There was a tug-of-war going on for his soul. One side saw clearly the disparities in society and how his actions contributed to them. The other side, the proud side, told him he hadn’t come this far to look backwards and slip into his past of poverty.
Then the biggest and most complicated case he had ever had landed on his desk. Swartz Corp produced chemicals. Advocate Edward Luthuli had shares in Swartz Corp; Thato himself was a silent partner. The company found itself in the middle of a big scandal.
The residents of a certain area of Alexandra were taking them to court because Swartz Corp had dumped chemical waste in an open landfill near the township where children and adults went to look for things that could be salvaged. They hadn’t spent the money to make sure the waste was properly disposed of. Now people in the township were getting sick from the dump.
Thato knew what Edward Luthuli expected in terms of the outcome of this case and it would be up to him to defend Swartz Corp in court. A great deal rested on this. His career depended on it.
Tell us: Will Thato be able to go through with this case?