Bongani John Masombuka, Sfundo Harrison Nkosi, Khumbuzo Solomon Mukhuba, Brian Makhubedu and Mashudu Malema are accused of murdering actor and footballer Dumi Masilela. Zelda Venter
Pretoria - In an unusual turn of events, the three Legal Aid attorneys defending the five men accused of murdering actor and football player Dumisani Masilela wanted the trial to start immediately.

This was despite the fact that they had not yet received the case docket.

On Monday, the five were still without a lawyer. The case was postponed to yesterday to enable Legal Aid South Africa to provide them with a lawyer.

While this was done this week, the three lawyers had little time to consult with the accused, who were all awaiting trial in jail.

Two of the accused were arrested in June and the other in August.

The State undertook to hand the docket over to the lawyers by yesterday afternoon. The three lawyers said they would study it overnight and they would be ready to proceed with the trial by today.

They accused the State of delaying tactics and said the accused had a constitutional right to a speedy trial.

But prosecutor Josie van der Westhuizen said it was a complicated case, as the five accused were not only facing charges relating to the murder of Masilela in August last year, they are also facing charges relating to a string of other hijackings.

Van der Westhuizen said there were 71 State witnesses listed to take the stand, although it is doubtful that all of them will be called to testify.

She said she did not know what the agenda was on the part of the defence for wanting the trial to start immediately without the prosecution being ready.

She pointed out that she had only been tasked with the trial a week ago and that she needed a few days to consult with the witnesses.

Meanwhile, the three lawyers said they wanted to start immediately, but Judge J Letsoalo said that to be able to properly defend their clients, they should first obtain the docket to enable them to exactly see what the State’s case entailed and what was going to unfold in the case.

The judge ordered that the trial resume on October 19.

The accused are Bongani John Masombuka, 34, of Tembisa, Sfundo Harrison Nkosi, 30, Khumbuzo Solomon Mukhuba, 27, Brian Makhubedu, 24, and Mashudu Malema, 31, all of Ivory Park.

Masilela, 29, a Rhythm City actor, was gunned down during an attempted hijacking.

He was shot in Tembisa by the occupants of a black Jeep, which was allegedly hijacked shortly before Masilela was shot.

He managed to drive himself to hospital, where he received surgery. However, he died later that day as a result of a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

His alleged killers are facing 11 charges ranging from murder to robbery and kidnapping.

Pretoria News