The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) is now handcuffing the Senzo Meyiwa murder-accused during their transit to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria and some of them throughout proceedings.
This follows after three of the five accused were involved in a scuffle with an armed Correctional Services officer during the tea break on Monday.
The court proceedings were delayed on Tuesday as three of the accused - Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Mncube and Fisokuhle Ntuli - arrived late in court.
Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya and Maphisa were present in court.
It later emerged this was due to accused two, Ntanzi, objecting to being handcuffed during transit on the basis that he was not a sentenced person.
It appeared accused 3, 4, 5 - Mncube, Maphisa and Ntuli - were being handcuffed during court proceedings, while the three and Sibiya and Ntanzi, were all restrained with leg irons.
National Commissioner Makgothi Samuel Thobakgale said they would not tolerate the accused being involved in scuffles with officers and said they would take action.
Advocate Bheki Mngomezulu told the court that his client was raising a complaint against the DCS driver who has been transporting him.
“He actually raises a complaint about Mr Mulaudzi who is the one transporting him to the prison. He handcuffed him from his hands. He (Ntanzi) informed him he is not a sentenced prisoner. He told him he was not participating in the court scuffle,” he said.
Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng said it was the Department of Correctional Services’ responsibility to determine the security threats, calling on defence counsel to engage with the department on the matter, as it was not his decision to make.
It emerged during proceedings that three of accused were now handcuffed during proceedings as some of them complained their handcuffs were too tight.
The warder told the court he had warned the accused against sitting on top of the court benches on November 15, 2023 - about a fortnight ago.
All five accused are cuffed on the legs with iron leg chains and are not handcuffed in court. They are under constant watch by a tactical team from DCS.
Thobakgale said: “Such utter disrespect will not be tolerated and the department is looking into the incident.
“Correctional Officials rendering escort and guarding responsibilities do so on behalf of the State.
“Any form of unbecoming behaviour warrants a security review so as to ensure safety of those in closer proximity to the inmates,” said Thobakgale.
Sibiya, Ntanzi, Mncube, Maphisa, and Ntuli, are standing trial for the October 2014 murder of the footballer who was shot at the Vosloorus home of his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo.
Meanwhile, the head of the Cold Case Unit, Brigadier Bongani Gininda, who is also the investigating officer in the Meyiwa murder trial, has finally taken the stand.
He is expected to carry on with his evidence-in-chief on Tuesday.
The Meyiwa murder trial is currently in a trial-within-a-trial to determine if alleged confessions made by Ntanzi and Sibiya were made freely and voluntarily.
The trial continues.