‘Accused buying time’

2018-06-13 16:38
Murder accused former Msunduzi security officer Sifiso Hlengwa in the Pietermaritzburg regional court on Tuesday.

Murder accused former Msunduzi security officer Sifiso Hlengwa in the Pietermaritzburg regional court on Tuesday. (Nhlanhla Nkosi)

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Msunduzi Municipality’s former security officer Sifiso Hlengwa was on Tuesday accused by the prosecution of deliberately delaying his trial.

Oscar Sokhela on Tuesday told Pietermaritzburg regional court magistrate Bemal Jaynarayan that Hlengwa again seeking new legal representation on the day his trial was meant to continue, was like “déjà vu”.

“The state’s view is that this is a miscarriage of justice. It just looks like a game … we are being manipulated by Hlengwa to make sure the case doesn’t go on.”

He added that Hlengwa pleaded not guilty to the murder of Msunduzi traffic boss Phumla Dlamini in March last year. The incident took place in January 2016 at the traffic department’s Washington Road headquarters.

Sokhela was also frustrated the trial has been put on hold “without even the second witness having completed his testimony”. This was because Hlengwa’s legal team withdrew due to a lack of funds.

There have been numerous delays since then. These included that a legal aid attorney had to be appointed and transcripts of the trial needed to be prepared so that the new attorney could pick up where the case stopped.

Sokhela responded after Hlengwa’s attorney, Bongolethu Bomela, on Tuesday applied to withdraw from the matter, citing a conflict between her and Hlengwa.

On being quizzed by Jaynarayan, it emerged she had been instructed by Hlengwa in April to obtain documents from the municipality on when he was employed and when his contract ended.

She told the magistrate she had not done as her client requested.

Questioned why she agreed to have the case adjourned to Tuesday for further evidence, she said the conflict with her client only came up at the end of May. She also said she was going to proceed with the trial without the documents.

Jaynarayan said he was concerned that she had not acted on Hlengwa’s instructions and he allowed her to withdraw.

When he asked Hlengwa what he intended to do, he said he intends to instruct a private attorney. Asked who, he said he did not know. Jaynarayan then stood the matter down.

When the case was recalled, Hlengwa said he will instruct attorney Carlos Miranda. Jaynarayan adjourned the case to June 26.

He said he expects Hlengwa’s legal representative to be fully instructed by then and in a position to set down a date for the trial to continue.

“This matter will be getting the necessary attention on my court roll. Your legal representative must be ready to proceed on a continuous basis,” he warned Hlengwa.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  court case

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