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Senzo Meyiwa trial: Adv Teffo wants NPA head Shamila Batohi to take the stand

File picture: Shamila Batohi

File picture: Shamila Batohi

Published Jun 13, 2022

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Pretoria - After advocate Malesela Teffo spent the better part of the day exchanging words with the judge in the Senzo Meyiwa trial, after lunch, during his submissions, he told the court that the director of National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Shamila Batohi must explain why she moved the case from Johannesburg to the Pretoria High Court.

Teffo told the court that there has been a violation of the Criminal Procedure Act by the NPA and the Minister of Justice, with the change in the jurisdiction of the trial.

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Meyiwa was murdered at his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo’s Vosloorus home in October 2014, during an alleged botched robbery. He was shot in the back.

Teffo said the document, which changed jurisdiction of the trial, was signed on February 9, 2020, on Sunday, “on the day that we believe that our honourable Shamila Batohi is off ... with her children”.

“There is no reason at all for the trial to be held in Pretoria, I humbly request that Batohi must come and speak to the directive with her signature on it,” Teffo told the court.

Teffo said the first time the five accused appeared in court was in Boksburg, in Ekurhuleni. He added that Police Minister Bheki Cele confirmed the arrests nine months after Batohi's directive.

“I don't know if advocate Batohi is a practising gogo or sangoma,” said Teffo, questioning how Batohi could have foreseen the arrests.

“If indeed it is found that this court does not have the jurisdiction, the game will change,” added Teffo.

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He said that they will refuse to allow a court without jurisdiction to continue listening to the trial.

Teffo also added that his clients were also unlawfully arrested and there was no attempt to bring them to court within the stipulated 48 hours for them to apply for bail, saying his clients have “suffered” issues from the apartheid era for being “detained without a trial”.

In his closing statement, Teffo said that should the postponement be granted, they will follow the right procedure to ensure that his clients are released and that the parties would deliberate on which court has jurisdiction for the trial.

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In his response, Judge Tshifiwa Maumela said that there needs to be an explanation for the Minister of Justice not signing the directive and that, as per Teffo's argument, Batohi be asked how she signed the directive on a Sunday.

“I've got my own views, I have also signed documents on weekends,” Maumela said.

At the end, Judge Maumela said he cannot rule on any of Teffo's arguments because they were not in written form.

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Judge Maumela also added that he needs to hear the version of the police before determining whether Teffo's clients were arrested unlawfully or not.

The matter was postponed to Tuesday, June 14.

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