Thabani Mzolo

Durban -  Thabani Mzolo, the man accused of gunning down his ex-girlfriend, Zolile Khumalo earlier this year has ditched his legal aid lawyer - one week after his private attorney, Charl Claasen ditched him.

When proceedings began in the Durban High Court on Monday, legal aid lawyer, Amanda Hurley told the court today that Mzolo had told her that his family had arranged a private legal representative and he would not need her services.

Last week, Claasen withdrew his services after not being paid by Mzolo.

Mzolo told the court that his family had already paid for a private advocate from the Estcourt area to represent him during the trial.

But Judge Sharmaine Balton would not hear anything about an application by Mzobe to adjourn the matter.

Balton said the students who were going to testify in the trial were ready and as a result she could not adjourn the matter any longer.

"The students are about to begin writing their exams. They need to focus on that. The state is ready to proceed. The reason why the adjournment was granted on the previous occasion was that you had not paid your previous lawyer and he withdrew his services, how are going to pay for this one," asked Balton.

Balton said she wanted proof that the private lawyer has been paid and instructed.

"Do you have any idea how much a private advocate can cost for the trial that could take more than two weeks. This trial could cost up to R200 000," said Balton

But Mzolo insisted that his family had sorted everything with the lawyer.

He said he was well capable to pay his previous lawyer.

"It's not true that he withdrew because I could not pay him. I was not happy with the fact that he was not an advocate. I am now getting an advocate to represent me," said Mzolo.

State advocate Nadira Moosa had to phone the advocate who confirmed that she was paid part of her legal fees to represent Mzolo in the trial.

The trial date has been set for next year March, but Mzolo will be back in court on November 13 to confirm the services of his legal advocate.

Daily News