Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

Meyiwa murder trial postponed once again, advocate Teffo argues court has no jurisdiction

The state did not object to the trial being postponed to September, except for advocate Malesela Teffo.

The murder trial of former Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa has stalled once again at the Pretoria High Court due to the existence of a second police docket implicating his girlfriend, singer Kelly Khumalo, and six other people in his murder.

The trial was meant to resume on Monday after it was delayed last week for clarity on the status of the second docket, which recommended charges of murder and defeating the ends of justice against Khumalo and Longwe Twala, Gladness Khumalo, Zandile Khumalo, Tumelo Madlala, Mthokozisi Twala and Maggie Phiri.

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The docket in question – case 375 – alleged that Khumalo accidentally shot the soccer on 26 October 2014 at her family home in Vosloorus, east of Johannesburg, with a revolver allegedly brought into the house by Longwe Twala – the son of music icon Chicco Twala.

The group claimed at the time Meyiwa was killed in a botched robbery.

Second docket has ‘no merit’

In a letter read out in court on Monday, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the South Gauteng division confirmed that the National Prosecuting Authority did not make a decision on docket 375 because the document had no merit.

The state and defence were told that the docket was considered as an “internal opinion” from a junior state advocate.

ALSO READ: NPA says 2nd docket implicating Kelly Khumalo has no merit

Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela postponed the trial to Tuesday at 10am after advocate Malesela Teffo objected to a request from advocate Zandile Mshololo, for the case to be deferred to September in order for her to study the docket.  

Advocate Mshololo represents accused number five, Sifisokuhle Ntuli, while Teffo represents the other four men charged with Meyiwa’s murder.

Advocate Teffo argued that any further delays in the trial would not be in the best interests of justice. He also argued – among other issues – the court could not grant the postponement because it did not have jurisdiction.

After hearing Teffo’s arguments, Judge Maumela requested him to make his arguments in writing through a substantial application.

“With the accused in custody this case is postponed by agreement overnight in order to determine the way forward,” Maumela ordered.

Application for postponement

Advocate Mshololo said she would bring an application, at a later date, for the postponement of the trial, due to the two dockets and the letter from the DPP.

Mshololo insisted her client’s rights to a fair trial were being violated by the state’s failure to disclose the docket in question.

“The trial is now going to be delayed because of the non-disclosure by the state. The trial is going to be delayed because accused number five’s rights have been violated and the violation is incurable,” Mshololo argued.

“I still want to deal with the docket I have received before I can be able to come back before this court with the appropriate application,” she added.

State accused of lying

State prosecutor, advocate George Baloyi, argued that the defence could not claim it was not aware of the second docket, as it was made aware of the document earlier this year.

Advocate Baloyi said Mshololo mentioned the docket during court proceedings on 22 April 2022 when the five men standing trial for Meyiwa’s murder pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

He said the state and advocate Mshololo only received copies of the document last Wednesday before court proceedings started, however, advocate Teffo had had access to the docket prior.

“It is not as if this docket mysteriously surfaced now,” Baloyi said.

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Advocate Mshololo denied she became aware of the second docket in April and accused the state of lying to the court.

She asked the court to review the transcripts from the proceedings of 22 April to confirm her claim about the state misleading the court.

“When the trial started, the state did not disclose to me the existence of this docket. And now the state is lying to say I said to this court I knew about this second docket,” she said.

Advocate Teffo also accused the state of “misleading” the court on the existence of docket 375, arguing that there were “material defects” from its submissions on the status quo of the second docket.

Advocate Teffo and judge Maumela clash

Earlier during court proceedings, there was a heated exchange between judge Maumela and advocate Teffo.

Teffo and his instructing attorney, Timothy Thobane, accused the court of not giving him a chance to make his arguments on behalf of his clients.

But Judge Maumela said Teffo was repeating things that were already “common knowledge” to the court.

“I’m begging this honourable court to make submissions to the best of my ability without interruption, that’s my humble plea,” Teffo said.

Judge Maumela disagreed with the defence lawyer, saying he was repeating himself and would be given a chance to argue his case at a later stage.

Advocate Teffo then said he was not fighting with the judge and asked him to withdraw the word “fight” from his earlier remarks.

But Judge Maumela said he never used the word as it was Teffo who first used the word.

“I don’t think I should withdraw anything, you’re the one who came with the word fight and I said I’m not fighting with you and I will never fight with you,” Maumela said.

“This is not about me and you advocate Teffo, it’s about other people and there’s no need to fight,” he added.

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