Safety of nine witnesses in Senzo Meyiwa trial will be protected: state
Trial will begin in April
The trial of the five men accused of the murder of football star Senzo Meyiwa will begin from April 11 next year in the high court in Pretoria.
Prosecutor George Baloyi explained before the high court in Johannesburg on Monday that the prosecution and the defence held a pretrial conference earlier this month and an agreement was reached for the trial to start next year.
“All the preliminary issues have been taken care of. The trial should then commence on April 11,” Baloyi said.
In terms of the agreement, the state will make available the statements of nine witnesses whose names had been withheld for security reasons.
Baloyi said these statements will be made available six weeks before the trial.
He said special arrangements would be made for the safety of the nine witnesses.
“The contents of the docket has been disclosed to counsel,” Baloyi said.
Meyiwa, the former Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper, was gunned down in what was described as a botched robbery in Vosloorus, east of Johannesburg, in the presence of his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo, her mother Ntombi, sister Zandi, Zandi’s boyfriend Longwe Twala, his friends Mthokozisi Twala and Tumelo Madlala, and their son, who was four years old at the time.
He was killed on October 26 2014.
The appearance of Muzikawulahlelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Mncube, Mthokosizeni Maphisa and Fisokuhle Ntuli comes just a day shy of the seventh anniversary of Meyiwa's killing on October 26 2014.
The men were arrested in October last year in connection with Meyiwa's murder and they made their first appearance before the Boksburg magistrate's court.
We certainly hope that this is the last postponement because after seven years, any family needs closure.Gerrie Nel, AfriForum head of private prosecutions
Baloyi asked that the accused, who are all in prison, be remanded in custody until the start of the trial.
Sibiya is currently at Modderbee prison, Ntanzi at Rustenburg prison, Mncube at Kgosi Mampuru prison in Pretoria, Maphisa at Leeuwkop prison and Ntuli at Ebongweni prison in Kokstad.
The court refused an application by Ntuli to be returned to Qalakabusha prison. Ntuli was moved to the Kokstad super-max correctional services facility last week after being convicted of six murders. His lawyer said following his conviction, Ntuki was moved to the Kokstad facility.
In a statement ahead of the court hearing, national police spokesperson Brig Vishnu Naidoo said Sibiya also has two attempted murder cases against him in Vosloorus courts. In one of the charges, he is alleged to have shot a female victim more than nine times at Vosloorus hostel.
At previous appearances in court on the Meyiwa case, the men have professed their innocence, saying they had nothing to do with his murder.
AfriForum, which has been assisting the Meyiwa family, expressed disappointment that the case is not proceeding this year.
“It has been seven years since Mr Meyiwa was tragically killed,” AfriForum's head of private prosecutions Gerrie Nel said.
Nel said lawyers came together and decided to postpone the case and neither the court nor the family was informed of that decision.
“We have no idea why this matter could not have proceeded. We certainly hope that this is the last postponement because after seven years, any family needs closure. We still hope that the matter will proceed next year.”
AfriForum said it was disappointed that only these five accused have been charged.
Nel said AfriForum will consult with the police to see whether there is a possibility that other accused can be added to the case.
He still believes there was a mastermind behind the killing.
“If we are dealing with a contract killing, you must have a mastermind charged with all the other accused, just to have success in the matter,” Nel said.