THE new attorney for Chris Mahlangu, who is accused along with a minor of killing AWB leader Eugene Terre’Blanche, in a surprise move on today (May 9) told the Ventersdorp High Court he was ready for trial, the National Prosecuting Authority said.
“We were all taken aback this morning when he [advocate Kgomotso Tlouane] said he was ready to proceed,” said spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga.
“The attorney for the minor, Norman Arendse, was not in court today [Monday] because counsel was given an impression that accused one’s attorney would be seeking a postponement. If the situation had changed, we should have been advised timeously.”
Mhaga said it was not fair to the journalists and legal representatives who were not in court.
Last week, the matter was stood down because Tlouane said he would not be ready for trial in a week, given the amount of work he had to do.
“We are basically back to square one,” he said at the time, explaining that he would have to do the required legal work that Mahlangu’s previous attorney Puna Moroko had failed to do.
He submitted that forensic and DNA evidence, photographs, witness statements and pointing-outs had not been examined by experts and that potential witnesses to help the defence were not tracked down.
He said he needed time to form a proper defence strategy for trial and indicated that it would take a lot of time.
Arendse, at the time, said he was ready for trial.
The matter was stood down on Monday as Arendse was not in court.
Judge John Horn would decide on Tuesday whether the trial would be postponed.
Mahlangu and the minor allegedly bludgeoned Terre’Blanche to death at his North West farmhouse in April last year, apparently over a wage dispute.
The murder received international media coverage and sparked public debate about race relations and raised questions of whether the crime was politically motivated. There were also claims that the murder was linked to the singing of a struggle song containing the lyrics “shoot the boer” by African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema.