A Soweto magistrate lashed out at a man accused of killing University of Johannesburg (UJ) student Palesa Madiba after his lawyer failed to attend the court proceedings.
Magistrate Zweli Zwakhe delayed proceedings earlier this month in the Protea Magistrate’s Court after Dumisani Mkhwanazi, 36, promised to bring his lawyer.
But during his appearance on Wednesday, Mkhwanazi told the court that his legal representative was not present because the matter was going to be postponed.
“We can’t continue without your lawyer, we need him to be present here. If you can’t afford a lawyer apply for a Legal Aid lawyer. I can’t keep postponing this case because of your lawyer.
“I don’t know your lawyer’s name and if he exists or not,” said Zwakhe.
Mkhwanazi, who is facing charges of murder and defeating the ends of justice, replied that his mother earlier told him that his lawyer was not going to be in court.
He said he would never apply for a Legal Aid lawyer and said his mother had paid the lawyer on Monday to represent him.
Mkhwanazi then asked for the matter to be postponed to Thursday so his lawyer could be present, which Zwakhe rebuked.
The case was postponed to August 28. Mkhwanazi was warned to ensure his lawyer was present that day.
During the adjournment, Madiba’s uncle Thabiso Tsoledi said the family was frustrated by the delays Mkhwanazi caused.
“According to the legal system, he is supposed to be afforded an opportunity to get a lawyer. I am glad that the magistrate took a tough stance that he should get a lawyer during his next appearance,” said Tsoledi.
He continued that it was frustrating for the family to attend court when there was no progress.
Madiba was last seen alive on August 9 visiting her friend Tshidi Mkhwanazi’s home in Phiri, Soweto.
Mkhwanazi is Tshidi’s uncle.
Madiba’s remains were found buried at Mkhwanazi’s home two years after she went missing.
Madiba was born in Diepkloof, Soweto, on November 7, 1992. At the time she went missing on August 9, 2013, she was enrolled for a Bachelor of Commerce degree in accounting at UJ.
Tshidi claimed she had last seen Madiba on August 12, 2013, when she left in the morning to go to work.
She said she left her with her uncle who was in her home at the time. Police took the uncle in for questioning but he was later released.
According to reports, he had taken out a restraining order against Madiba’s family, claiming the family harassed him about her whereabouts.