Senzo Meyiwa trial: Police minister and generals intimidating us, argues defence advocate

Police generals sent a senior officer to the Pretoria high court, where the Senzo Meyiwa trial is being heard, to ask for the five accused’s names and addresses in a continuation of “intimidation tactics”, defence lawyer Dan Teffo said on Tuesday. 

He was speaking about the presence in the courtroom of Lieutenant-Colonel Fourie, who allegedly approached state prosecutors to ask for the particulars of the accused. 

Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Ncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa — who are represented by Teffo — and Fisokuhle Ntuli, represented by Zandile Mshololo, are on trial for Meyiwa’s urder on 26 October 2014, in what the state alleges was a botched house robbery at the Vosloorus, Gauteng, family home of the footballer’s lover, singer Kelly Khumalo. 

The five accused 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.  

Teffo addressed Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela, saying that Fourie inquired about the accused’s particulars, including which correctional facility they were being detained at.

Teffo said Fourie, who was still in court, should explain to the court what his intentions were in seeking the details.

This was after Teffo had said that Fourie had told him and the prosecutors that police generals and Police Minister Bheki Cele had sent him to get information on the accused. 

“We strongly believe that this is part of the intimidation that is happening to the defence. So what is the interest of the generals of the police, and the minister of police, on our clients?” Teffo asked.

Advocate Ronnie Sibanda, who is part of state prosecutor George Baloyi’s team, confirmed to the court that Fourie had approached the state to request the case number for the Meyiwa trial, as well as the names of the accused.  

“I did not hear him asking for the addresses [of the accused], as well as that the [police] minister sent him to come,” Sibanda said, although he did confirm that Fourie had told him he had been sent by the police generals. 

Teffo said Fourie’s presence in court was part of the threats his clients, witnesses and himself have endured since the trial started. 

“My lord, this information is crucial for the court to hear, because we have put it on record that accused one to four are facing threats. And we never beat about the bush to say the threats are coming from the state, including the police,” Teffo said. 

Maumela directed Baloyi and the state to address Teffo’s concerns, saying the court found it worrying that police were present in his court and allegedly intimidating the defence team and their clients.

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Khaya Koko
Khaya Koko is a journalist with a penchant for reading through legal documents braving the ravages of cold court benches to expose the crooked. He writes about social justice and human-interest stories. Most importantly, he is a card-carrying member of the Mighty Orlando Pirates.

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