Malema, Ndlozi trial: Ex-cop grilled over video evidence showing the 'assault'

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EFF leader Julius Malema and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi at a previous court appearance.
EFF leader Julius Malema and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi at a previous court appearance.
@EFFSouthAfrica, Twitter
  • Seal numbers and forensic bags were in the spotlight during cross-examination of State witness Lt Col Charles Seanego when the trial against Julius Malema and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi resumed. 
  • Malema and Ndlozi are accused of assaulting a police officer at the funeral of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
  • They have pleaded not guilty and maintain the officer should have never stopped their vehicle from entering the cemetery.


EFF leader Julius Malema and MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi's lawyer grilled a former police officer over his handling of video footage allegedly showing the two politicians assaulting a police officer at the funeral of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Malema and Ndlozi are on trial before magistrate Lieland Poonsamy in the Randburg Magistrate's Court and stand accused of allegedly assaulting Lieutenant Colonel Johannes Jacobus Venter, who was attached to the Presidential Protection Services, at Madikizela-Mandela's funeral on 14 April 2018.

Investigating officer Charles Seanego - now retired - probed the assault case against Malema and Ndlozi. 

READ | EFF rejects news anchor's apology after saying Malema, Ndlozi 'killed cop'

The officer's evidence was challenged by the politicians' lawyer, Laurens Hodes, who asked Seanego to explain how he recorded the turn of events in his statements for the investigation.

Present at proceedings on Wednesday were some of the EFF's top brass, including secretary-general Marshall Dlamini, chairperson Victoria Mente, treasurer-general Omphile Maotwe and her deputy, Poppy Mailola. 

Former party secretary-general Godrich Gardee was also present. 

Seanego, who served in the police force for more than 40 years, told the court he was attached to the general investigation detective services unit in Johannesburg at the time he was handed the case in 2018. 

He said he was called by the provincial office to attend to the "high-profile" case which was registered at the Douglasdale police station. 

READ | Malema, Ndlozi trial: CCTV footage at centre of testimony

Seanego said when he took over the case, it lacked witness statements and video evidence, which he sought. 

Seanego, corroborating the evidence given by the memorial park's former operations manager, Deon Klingbiel, said he approached Klingbiel asking for the footage. 

"I sealed the forensic bag in front of him [Klingbiel]," Seanego testified. 

The retired officer told the court he was not present when Klingbiel downloaded the footage and that after he obtained the video, he never made further contact with him. 

After registering the footage as an exhibit, Seanego said he then sent it to Hi-Tech's offices. 

Seanego testified that he had also gathered witness statements.

Additional video evidence

He also visited Lieutenant James Bronkhorst's office in Pretoria after he was informed there was another video in his possession. 

"I got the information [about another copy of a footage] from my immediate commander, Colonel Nama," he said. 

On arrival at the Pretoria office, Bronkhorst was, however, not there, but Seanago left a USB drive flash-stick for him. 

Seanego said he then met Bronkhorst the following week and he gave Seanego the USB containing the footage. Seanego placed the stick in a forensics bag and also sealed it in front of him. 

"When I received the exhibit, I drove back to my office and registered it in SAP13 and then took it to cyber crime in Pretoria," he said. 

The witness said when he retired, all his dockets were allocated to other members. 

During cross-examination, Hodes brought into question seal numbers and how the investigating officer documented the sequence of events. 

True

Hodes questioned Seanego on statements he had given, asking why some of them were not depicting the true sequence of events of the dates he received the footage from Klingbiel and Bronkhorst. 

The lawyer said the statements were confusing. 

Hodes said one statement Seanego made created the impression that he received the various footage from the two people on the same date, 23 May 2018.

Seanego said while his statements created that impression, it was not the case.

Hodes also questioned why Seanego did not mention in his statement that he placed the footage he received from Klingbiel in a forensic seal bag in front of him. 

He also questioned why the officer had not written down the seal numbers for the evidence he collected. 

"You sealed it some time unknown, but when you depose to your statement on 20 March 2019 you didn't even mention sealing them. 

"It's unfortunate that I have to put it to you [that] it is the most basic statement that a first-year constable would make. To say 'I received an item, booked it in SAP13 with [such] reference numbers...'. It's inexcusable that you never recorded it, sir." 

Seanego said at some point the original docket got lost, resulting in him having to depose another statement, where he then did not include everything because he had forgotten some of the details and was also retired. 

The trial continues.

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