CCTV in Mthethwa trial reliable - witness
Cape Town - Access to the CCTV footage and systems tested for admissibility in the trial of murder-accused renowned artist Zwelethu Mthethwa was said to be secure and reliable by a witness who testified in the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.
“I am the only one with the authority to check the cameras,” said buildings supervisor Maureen De Wet, an employee of Daleglen Properties for 15 years.
Mthethwa was accused of beating a 23-year-old sex worker to death in April 2013, outside of De Wet’s places of work in Ravenscraig Road, Woodstock. Footage captured by CCTV cameras managed by De Wet were at the centre of a trial-within-a-trial which had earlier been requested by defence attorney Advocate William Booth.
Booth had last week asked for the trial-within-a-trial to determine the admissibility of CCTV footage as evidence.
The first witness within the proceedings was Nathan Bearman who had installed the systems at Tollgate Industrial Centre and The Stock Yard in Woodstock. De Wet was responsible for the management of both locations’ CCTV systems.
De Wet was questioned about access to the offices which housed the CCTV systems, password control, and the security of locks used.
“No one else has access to that office,” said De Wet, referring to the Tollgate premises.
De Wet said there was no chance of anyone else accessing the office or the cabinet wherein the system was secured at the Stock Yard premises.
In regards to maintenance of the two systems, De Wet said she was always present, even when it was something as small as wiping a camera lens.
She further testified that no problems had arisen with the systems at the time of the alleged murder.
Detailing the morning she first saw the footage, De Wet said she started her work day like any other, between 06h30 and 07h00.
“My night security told me about an incident. I then contacted Freddie my security guard who had already reported the incident to the police,” she said.
De Wet said after speaking to Freddie, a constable Basson from the South African Police Services arrived at the Tollgate office and requested copies of the footage.
“He wanted to download the footage but I said I didn’t know how to do that and I did not have a [memory] stick,” she said.
De Wet said Basson then offered to download it himself in her presence, after looking away while she typed in her password.
“I said he could do it,” she said, “I asked him to turn his back, as I do with everyone, and in my presence he downloaded the footage.”
According to De Wet, the exact same procedure was followed at the Stock Yard premises.
De Wet was then made to describe photo evidence and the layout of her Tollgate office and the security cabinet at the Stock Yard premises.
After a short break, proceedings continued with the showing of CCTV footage in camera.
The matter continues.