Senzo Meyiwa trial: Judge calls for respect after heated exchange between Zandile, lawyer
'There is no necessity for us not to respect each other, more particularly, in a case that's televised as this one.'
Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng is presiding over the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. Picture: Gallo Images/Phill Magakoe
The presiding judge in the trial of the five men accused of killing Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa has called on the defence and witnesses to respect each other and the decorum of the court.
Senzo Meyiwa murder trial
Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng made the remarks on Tuesday after a heated exchange between defence lawyer advocate Zithulele Nxumalo and state witness Zandile Khumalo during her cross-examination on Monday.
Khumalo, who is the sister of Meyiwa’s then-girlfriend Kelly Khumalo, was quizzed about the events leading up to and after Meyiwa’s death on 26 October 2014.
Nxumalo, who is representing accused number four, Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa, tried to poke holes in Khumalo’s testimony, which alleges that intruders shot and killed Meyiwa during an alleged botched robbery at her family home in Vosloorus, east of Johannesburg.
‘Watch your tone’
Emotions ran high during the cross-examination, and at one point Khumalo raised her voice at Nxumalo and told him to “watch your tone when you talk to me” and to “tone down”.
This led to Nxumalo telling the judge that he felt intimidated by the witness, despite his efforts to act in the best interests of his client.
In response, Khumalo said: “I am here to assist the court, you are here to block what we are doing, so don’t shout at me. Let’s be clear, I love order.”
At the start of the proceedings on Tuesday morning, Judge Mokgoatlheng called on both Nxumalo and Khumalo to respect each other and the decorum of the court.
“I just want to make a remark concerning a disquieting incident that happened yesterday between the exchanges of Mr Nxumalo and the witness,” he said.
“I let it pass because I wanted people to think about it. There is no necessity for us not to respect each other, more particularly, in a case that’s televised as this one.”
‘We are all adults’
The judge said he expected lawyers and witnesses to keep the “deference, the dignity, and the decorum of this court at all times”.
“We are all adults, we just have to address each other deferentially. We know what it takes to speak to each other as adults.”
Advocate Zandile Mshololo, representing accused number five, Sifisokuhle Ntuli, is currently cross-examining Khumalo.
The trial continues.