Pretoria - The Senzo Meyiwa trial has hit another snag after a witness who was inside the house when the soccer star was killed, brought an application to stop the media from showing visuals and audio of her testimony.
The witness, who cannot be named pending a ruling by the court, was due to take the stand in the North Gauteng High Court, Pretoria on Monday.
State prosecutor advocate George Baloyi said the witness feared for her safety should proceedings be broadcast.
“Her standpoint is if she has to testify in an open court where there is live proceedings she may have to reconsider testifying in this matter. The witness does not object to journalists being in the courtroom,” Baloyi said.
The defence for all the accused was not pleased with the new development saying it was an ambush and the application should have been brought earlier.
“If she is genuine about her safety she should have considered before she went on Netflix, should not have posted on social media about herself,” said advocate Zandile Mshololo.
Advocate Charles Mnisi said his client felt if the broadcast was “shut down” those at home following the proceedings would miss out and his family wanted to follow the court proceedings.
Advocate Sipho Ramosepele said the witness should not be given special treatment because she’s a public figure.
“She also says she is well-known personality and that her testimony will be under scrutiny. Everybody that testifies here will be under scrutiny and the public will always have an opinion… We are not going to be held to ransom by the witness,” he said.
After lunch, a legal representative for the media, Dan Rosengarten said excluding electronic media meant journalists could not use their tool of trade which would essentially limit their right as provided by the Constitution.
He said the witness’s application that cameras would make her uncomfortable, must be dismissed because she had on her own volition made media statements and had publicly spoken about the matter.
“Without dwelling on the past, the witness has previously proven that she’s not camera-shy and that cameras don’t bother her, and that regarding her safety she’s actively tweeting now,’’ Rosengarten argued.
Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela allowed the State and the defence to file their heads of arguments and the issue will be dealt with on Wednesday.
Meyiwa, at the time of his death, was involved in a romantic relationship with singer Kelly Khumalo, and they have a daughter.
He was killed while visiting Khumalo’s home in Vosloorus, south-east of Joburg.
Bongani Ntanzi, Sifisokuhle Ntuli, Muzikawukhulelwa Sthemba Sibiya, Mthobisi Prince Ncube and Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa have been charged with the October 26, 2014 murder.
The State alleges the footballer was killed in a botched house robbery.
In the house that day were Meyiwa, Kelly and her younger sister Zandile, their mother Ntombi Khumalo (MaKhumalo), Longwe Twala, Meyiwa’s friends Mthokozisi Thwala and Tumelo Madlala, Kelly’s then four-year-old son Christian, and Thingo, her daughter with Meyiwa.