The Senzo Meyiwa murder trial has been postponed to Tuesday to allow the legal representative of accused number five Sifisokuhle Ntuli to consult with him.
After more than eight years, the trial against the five men accused of the murder of the Bafana Bafana captain Meyiwa started on Monday.
The other four accused – Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, 34, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, 30, Mthobisi Prince Ncube, 36, and Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa, 35, who have been charged with the 2014 murder of Meyiwa – also appeared in the Pretoria High Court on Monday.
All the accused are expected to plead not guilty.
The advocate for accused one to four, Malesela Teffo, said they are ready to start the trial. He vehemently opposed the postponement, with Judge Tshifhwiwa Maumela asking him to clarify his statement.
“Are you saying we must continue with the trial and undermine the constitutional right of accused number five to consult with their advocate?”
Meanwhile, Advocate Zandile Mshololo accused the state of pursuing an “ambush” trial by disclosing witness statements two weeks ago.
Mshololo said they received more statements from the state on 30 March and were not ready to proceed with the trial.
“They were received at the 11th hour,” said Mshololo.
Msholo said she has not been able to consult with Ntuli as he is being kept at a Kokstad prison, which is far from her chambers.
She said when she tried to consult with him, she was not given permission by Correctional Services to do so.
State prosecutor, Advocate George Baloyi, said the late release of statements was to protect “fearful” witnesses, who have been placed in protection.
Judge Maumela then acceded to the request for a postponement.
“The matter has been postponed until tomorrow, 12 April 2022, so Advocate Zandile Mshololo for Sifisokuhle Nkani Ntuli can consult with him. The need for consultation is more than vital and needs to be observed,” said Judge Maumela.
“With it I make an order for whoever is responsible among the court orderlies and officials from Correctional Services to allow consultation to happen until such time that it will be vital for the accused that are in custody to be taken back to prison. My order is that this be not undermined so that we don’t to hear anybody raising any issues of difficulties with consultation.”
Meyiwa was shot dead while visiting the home of his then-girlfriend singer Kelly Khumalo in Vosloorus in October 2014.
He was one of seven people in the home when gunmen allegedly entered the house and tried to rob everyone.
Meyiwa was the only person who was shot in the incident.