Zim man resists taking place in dock
Headstrong and defiant, a Zimbabwean national facing a string of charges linked to violent crimes stood shackled in the wings of the Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday as his alleged victim told how her boyfriend was bludgeoned to death in front of her.
Resisting requests from the judge to take his place in the dock, Trust Tofa, 30, said he would not do so until the courtroom gallery was cleared.
He said he would not plead to the charges – ranging from rape to murder – until the public was told to leave.
Judge Jannie Eksteen accordingly entered pleas of not guilty on behalf of Tofa.
Asked if he understood the charges read to him by state advocate Jason Thysse, Tofa said: “Since you are insisting the public stay, you must talk to them and not me.
“I don’t see my role in these proceedings any longer.”
After Tofa marched out of the dock, Eksteen said: “For the record, the accused has taken up a position on the stairwell leading to the cells. He is not in the dock.
“I make an order in terms of Section 159(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act for the matter to proceed without the accused.”
But just moments into the testimony of the alleged victim, Tofa shuffled back into the courtroom to accuse his former girlfriend of lying.
“She is lying so I am coming back in,” he muttered. He then reluctantly took his place in the dock.
Tofa is accused of breaking into a home in NU9 in Motherwell on November 17 2016, where he allegedly beat Godfrey Kumire to death with an iron rod.
Kumire had been sleeping next to his girlfriend of four months when Tofa allegedly kicked down the kitchen door at about 4am.
Wearing her pyjamas, the woman, who cannot be named, said she jumped up and screamed for help.
It is alleged Tofa then dragged her to a house in NU1, where he raped her on more than one occasion.
As the woman recalled the harrowing events, Tofa interjected.
“My Lord, this lady is insane,” he said.
“When she opened the charge she even gave the police the wrong name.
“I want to have a smoke now, she is stressing me out,” he said at one point.
Eksteen warned Tofa to adhere to the rules of the court.
“I find some points very offensive. I cannot contain myself,” Tofa responded.
The woman said they had been in a relationship during 2014 and 2015.
A week prior to the incident, Tofa had been chasing her around, she said.
“[That night] he began hitting [Kumire], saying ‘I have been telling you to separate from my girlfriend’,” the woman said.
“He hit him many times. I did not count. He hit him all over his body.”
The trial continues today.