The “conflict of interest” created by the second Senzo Meyiwa murder case docket, which allegedly recommended the prosecution of Kelly Khumalo and two of her relatives, will cause a “lengthy postponement” of the trial.
This emerged on Wednesday in the Pretoria high court, where advocate Zandile Mshololo, for accused five, Fisokuhle Ntuli, said she needed time to read the second case docket on Meyiwa’s killing, which was allegedly opened in January 2019.
Mshololo was speaking during her continuing cross-examination of Sergeant Thabo Mosia, a forensic police officer who is the state’s first witness in the trial.
The second docket, Mshololo told the court, included a recommendation by advocate Andrew Chauke, the Gauteng head of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), that seven people be prosecuted for Meyiwa’s death on 26 October 2019.
The former Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates captain was shot at the Vosloorus, Gauteng, family home of his girlfriend, singer Kelly Khumalo, in what the state alleges was a botched house robbery.
Mshololo said that the 2019 docket recommended the prosecution of: Longwe Twala, son of music producer, Sello “Chicco” Twala; Kelly Khumalo; Gladness Khumalo, who is Kelly’s mother; her younger sister, Zandi Khumalo; Tumelo Madlala and Mthokozisi Thwala, who were Meyiwa’s friends; and Maggie Phiri, a neighbour accused of cleaning up the crime scene.
Mshololo said the charges contained in the second docket were for murder, count one, and defeating the ends of justice.
Mshololo, who was accused of using “uncouth language” by state prosecutor George Baloyi, said the second docket was only disclosed to her on Wednesday, yet the state had been aware of it since 23 March.
Mshololo said the late disclosure of the second docket had “violated the constitutional rights of my client, accused number five. Accused number five has been prejudiced by the state in this case.”
Her contentions mirrored those of advocate Dan Teffo — legal representative for Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Ncube and Mthokoziseni Maphisa — who, on 31 May, said there was a second docket for Meyiwa’s murder and claimed that Kelly Khumalo had fired the shot that killed the footballer.
Addressing Mosia, Teffo had said: “I put it to you that … an eyewitness will testify that Senzo Robert Meyiwa was shot by Nonhlanhla Kelly Khumalo by mistake. The same eyewitness will further testify that the firearm used to shoot Senzo Robert Meyiwa came with Longwe Twala, and that firearm was a revolver.”
On Wednesday, Mshololo said she needed to read the second docket and consult her client, saying the NPA had to provide reasons the prosecuting authority decided to charge the five currently before court and not the seven it had recommended for prosecution in 2019. She called this “a gross irregularity”.
“We are sitting with a critical situation here where I’m seeking clarity from the [NPA] where they decided not to charge some people, and then charged other people. The NPA has no right to charge people how they want,” Mshololo said.
“There is an administrative way of discharging this decision [to prosecute]. Accused number five needs to be informed about the reasons about the decisions taken in the [second case docket].”
Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela said he was concerned about delays in finalising this matter, because there were accused who were remanded in custody while all this was happening and “I keep in mind that there is a family that lost its son”, referring to Meyiwa’s family.
He postponed the matter to 13 June, for court date planners to be consulted to find suitable dates to conclude the trial.
All accused — who face charges of premeditated murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, illegal possession of a firearm and the illegal possession of ammunition, to which they have pleaded not guilty — are remanded in custody.