Pretoria - The trial of the five men accused of the 2014 murder of Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa has been postponed by the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria in order to allow legal representatives to consult with the accused.
The trial due to start today was hit with a delay as advocate Zandile Mshololo, the legal representative of the fifth accused Sifisokuhle Ntuli, indicated she was unable to proceed with the trial.
This as Mshololo indicated that the state had released further particulars and statements to the defence at the 11th hour of the trial.
According to the defence the state had indicated during the pre-trial that they had statements that they would only furnish towards the start of the trial due to security reasons.
She said however the state had only furnished the legal representatives with the documents two weeks before the start of the trial.
Mshololo said however due to the accused being detained at the Kokstad Super Max Correctional facility in Durban, she experienced challenges in being able to organise consultations with the accused.
"For one the Kokstad prison is far from my chambers and when arrangements were made we were still not able to consult due to challenges with correctional services officials."
Mshololo similarly chastised the conduct of the state in withholding the statements, which she said was tantamount to violating the constitutional right of the accused to be given particulars so as to enable them to prepare an adequate defence.
As a result, Mshololo requested a one-day postponement of the trial and for arrangements to be made for her to have time to consult with the accused.
State representative Advocate George Baloyi raised no objection to the postponement however he indicated that the statements given were only to factor in towards the end of the trial months from now.
Baloyi also said there were only three statements that were emailed on March 28 to all legal defence teams, furthermore, he had made sure the hard copies were delivered to them by the 30th.
According to Baloyi the reason why the state had opted not to disclose the statements earlier was due to the witnesses' fear for their safety, which they once more reiterated prior.
It was for this reason that Baloyi said they delayed providing the statements until they were able to place them in protective custody, as well as removing their names and addresses on the statements provided.
Advocate Malesela Teffo the legal representative for Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Mncube, and Mthokoziseni Maphisa, accused one up to four, informed the court that they were ready to proceed with the trial even though they had also experienced challenges with consultations with accused at correctional facilities.
Similarly, he requested that arrangements be made for all the accused to be placed in one facility to enable him to have access to and consult with all of the men.
Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela granted the postponement and requested the state assist with contacting the correctional services for arrangements with the men.
The matter will proceed tomorrow.