Pretoria – Counsel for four of the five men accused of the 2014 murder of Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Robert Meyiwa have expressed sharp disquiet on why the National Director of Public Prosecutions advocate Shamila Batohi allocated the Senzo Robert Meyiwa murder trial when the murder happened in Joburg, to the High Court in Pretoria.
At the resumption of the high-stakes trial in Pretoria on Friday, advocate Malesela Daniel Teffo argued that his clients are “not supposed to be before this court” and that their rights are being infringed. He added that some of the accused were tortured by police to produce confessions.
“We have different cases with different theories. For (SAPS) case number 636, which wrongfully brought my clients here, there is also a case 375, which is opposing my clients’ presence in this court. That case says there are relevant people who are supposed to be charged, and those people will be tried in the South Gauteng High Court (Joburg),” said Teffo.
“Honestly speaking, we do not even know why we are in North Gauteng (High Court in Pretoria) where the scene of the crime, the jurisdiction would have to be inherited by Johannesburg, South Gauteng (High Court)”.
Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela then interjected, telling Teffo that the venue for the trial of any case is rightfully determined by the director of public prosecutions.
“Just on that point, there is a section in the Criminal Procedure Act which empowers the director of public prosecutions to determine the venue of a trial for any case within the Republic. Are you saying we should not have regard to that? In this case, the director of public prosecutions has determined that this trial will be run in Pretoria, and I can even say it is not the first (time) that this happens,” said Maumela.
Teffo was not convinced: “We strongly believe that the NDPP to have earmarked this local division, the North (Gauteng High Court) for the scene that happened in the jurisdiction of South Gauteng. We find it very bizarre. We have seen the page, but we don’t even know if it was signed by her, advocate Batohi. We don’t know the reason. Why should she bring this matter here?
“I am not denying the procedure that the attorney general, being the NDPP, can say that, but in this case, it is strange for her. We may even need her to come here and explain why did she bring this matter here. That is questionable.”
The judge responded: “Okay. Is that all?”
Teffo also mentioned that the State was disingenuous in the matter, especially on the presence of the two SAPS dockets.
The judge intervened: “No, you are repeating yourself. Let’s not have you and me fight. Do not repeat. I have two ears that still function. I was even writing.”
Teffo retorted: “Let me finish. I do not see what you are writing, Your Lordship.”
Meyiwa was fatally shot in a Vosloorus house, which was owned by his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo’s mother.
In the house, that day were Meyiwa, Kelly, and her younger sister, Zandile, their mother Ntombi Khumalo, Longwe Twala, Meyiwa’s friends Mthokozisi Thwala and Tumelo Madlala, Kelly’s then four-year-old son, Christian, and Thingo, her daughter with Meyiwa.
The five men, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Mncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa and Sifisokuhle Nkani Ntuli, are facing charges of murder, attempted murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, possession of an unlicensed firearm as well as possession of ammunition.
All of the accused men have pleaded not guilty.
The trial continues.