Pretoria - The trial of the five men accused of killing former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa has been postponed for five more days as the defence requested time to prepare a defence and consult their witnesses.
As the trial looking into the 2014 murder of Meyiwa was due to resume in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria today, advocate Zandile Mshololo the defence of the fifth accused Sifisokuhle Ntuli indicated she was still unable to proceed with the trial despite being afforded a day to consult on Monday.
Mshololo thanked the court for granting the postponement, however, she indicated that she would still be unable to proceed with the trial and requested a further five-day postponement.
She indicated that due to the late submission of the additional statements by the state two weeks before the start of the trial, she needed more time to prepare an adequate defence and be able to consult with their witnesses who were spread between KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
She indicated that had the defence teams of the accused been afforded the statements of witnesses in protective custody a month prior, they would have been in a position to proceed.
"It is my submission that accused number five will suffer prejudice if not afforded time to get additional information from the state and consult with other witnesses."
"The information that is outstanding on the side of the defence are particulars which will enable us to prepare a proper defence and the plea explanations needed from the outset of the trial," she said.
The state did not oppose the request however indicated the attempt by the defence to blame the state for furnishing documents late was preposterous as they had already highlighted the security concerns.
Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela in granting the postponement highlighted how even though the court had to take into consideration the rights of the accused during a trial, this could not supersede the right of the victims families and the nation.
"The reality is that we have five accused who are entitled to their constitutional rights as outlined but the other reality is that there is the family of the deceased, and taking into consideration this incident happened way back, the family has rights to know what happened and the consequences from a legal point."
"We can't speak as though there is only one group of rights to consider, but following this I do not think we will consider any postponements beyond these five days."
Ntuli alongside his four co-accused Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Mncube, and Mthokoziseni Maphisa face charges of murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, possession of firearms without a licence and possession of ammunition, for the murder of Meyiwa in 2014.
Cousin of the soccer star, Nomalang Meyiwa, said they were relieved that the judge had considered the family's need and right to have the matter proceed without any further postponements moving forward.
The family which travelled from KwaZulu-Natal to be present for the trial, said they hoped that upon their return things would move forward as they wanted to put the chapter of Senzo behind them.
"We are hoping when we come back on the 22nd we will finalise this matter as the judge promised this would be the last postponement he would be accepting, so we can also have closure as a family."
"We also want this chapter to be closed so we can live freely and we can move on with our lives now."
The matter will proceed on April 22.