/ 2 May 2023

Senzo Meyiwa: Disbarred lawyer Dan Teffo makes dramatic court entrance

Dan Teffo demanded that Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela meet him in chambers before the trial proceeded, saying he wanted to discuss “other issues” that could not be mentioned in public (Gallo)

The Senzo Meyiwa murder trial resumed on a dramatic note on Tuesday after a six-month break, with the now-disbarred advocate who had defended four of the five accused demanding an audience with the judge.

Mthokozisi Thwala, a childhood friend of Senzo Meyiwa, took the witness stand to testify about the events leading up to the footballer being shot and killed on 26 October 2014.

But the start of the much-anticipated proceedings at the Pretoria high court was delayed when disbarred advocate Dan Teffo made his appearance. He withdrew from the case in August last year.

Dressed in his legal robes, Teffo demanded that Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela meet him in chambers before the court could proceed. Teffo said there were “other issues” he wanted to discuss that could not be mentioned in the public domain.

But Maumela, through his clerk, told Teffo that the accused must be asked whether he could meet the former defence lawyer ahead of the proceedings. The accused’s legal representatives then met Maumela in chambers — without Teffo — after which the court case resumed.

The court learned that accused four in the trial, Mthokoziseni Maphisa, will now be represented by Zithulele Nxumalo, who replaced Tshepo Thobane.

Maphisa, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Ncube and Fisokuhle Ntuli have been charged with premeditated murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, illegal possession of a firearm and the illegal possession of ammunition over the death of Meyiwa, who died in what the state alleges was a botched house robbery at the Vosloorus, Gauteng, home of his girlfriend, singer Kelly Khumalo. They have all pleaded not guilty. 

Ntanzi, accused three, was denied bail at a separate hearing last Friday after the court ruled that he had failed to show that exceptional circumstances existed to warrant his release from custody.

During his testimony on Tuesday, Thwala became emotional when the court was shown photos of Khumalo’s house with Meyiwa’s BMW X6 parked in the driveway — the same vehicle in which the friends had travelled together hours before the footballer’s murder.

He recalled that he and Meyiwa were about to announce their departure when someone entered the kitchen and appeared in the small corridor connecting the kitchen and the room in which seven adults were sitting.

Tumelo Madlala, Meyiwa’s childhood friend and the state’s third witness, together with Khumalo, her sister Zandi Khumalo, their mother Gladness Khumalo, Thwala and Longwe Twala were the six adults present when Meyiwa was killed.

The suspect spoke isiZulu and demanded their phones and money, Thwala said. 

He told the court that the killer sported dreadlocks and was wearing a darkish coloured hat. According to Thwala, Longwe Twala was the first person to stand up, run towards the suspect and out of the house. The group in the room became aware of another suspect who was not armed but held a sharp object. 

The court adjourned while Thwala was still on the stand and was postponed to Wednesday at 10am.