Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

What to expect when the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial restarts on Tuesday

Will the accused be able to apply for bail? Will we hear from new witnesses? Some of your questions about the trial answered.

The long-awaited restart of the trial of the men accused of murdering Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa will finally begin on Tuesday.

A new judge, what now?

The trial, which has been ongoing for over a year, is expected to start from scratch at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria after the presiding judge, Tshifhiwa Maumela, was suspended by President Cyril Ramaphosa last month for failing to deliver judgments on time.

Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng has been appointed to take over from Maumela.

ALSO READ: Ramaphosa suspends Meyiwa trial judge Maumela

On Monday, the legal teams of the accused and the prosecution held a pre-trial conference to iron out some issues, including legal aid for some of the accused.

The five men standing trial, Bongani Ntanzi, Sifisokuhle Ntuli, Muzikawukhulelwa Sthemba Sibiya, Mthobisi Prince Ncube and Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa, face various charges including premeditated murder and attempted murder in connection with Meyiwa’s murder.

The group previously pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

Can they now apply for bail?

During Monday’s court proceedings, judge Mokgoatlheng said the accused will be given an opportunity to apply for bail now that the trial will be restarting from the beginning. However, the bail hearing will have to be heard by a different judge.

“In the spirit of the new proceedings, you are advised that you have the right to apply for bail. What happened in the past is the past,” said judge Mokgoatlheng.

Their lawyers also received an indictment and charge sheet from the state, which means that the accused will have to re-plea again by stating whether they are guilty or not guilty to the charges against them in connection with Meyiwa’s murder on 26 October 2014.

The soccer star was gunned down during an alleged robbery in Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni, at the family home of his then-lover, singer Kelly Khumalo.

“A criminal trial only starts when an indictment has been handed over to you. Before you plead, the case has not begun,” said Mokgoatlheng.

Will there be new witnesses?

State prosecutor advocate George Baloyi confirmed that the live audio coverage of the trial will continue like before for the safety and security of the witnesses, which was agreed to by judge Mokgoatlheng.

Baloyi also confirmed that the charge sheet had not been amended and no new witnesses will be brought forward.

“The court will postpone this matter to tomorrow at 10:00 [Tuesday] on the assumption that the pre-trial conference shall have been held,” ordered judge Mokgoatlheng.

The trial is expected to last for several months.

NOW READ: Kelly’s sister, Zandi, appeals to president to prioritise Meyiwa trial

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