- The suspects accused of killing Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa appeared in court on Friday.
- Their case was transferred to the High Court, where their trial will take place.
- AfriForum, which is assisting in the probe, is disappointed that the NPA has not acted against the mastermind.
The murder trial of five men accused of being involved in the 2014 murder of Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa has been transferred to the Gauteng High Court.
Muzikawukhulelwa S’Tembu Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa, and Sfisokuhle Sifiso Nkani Ntuli appeared before Magistrate Hans Havenga in the Boksburg Magistrate's Court on Friday morning.
According to lobby group AfriForum, whose Private Prosecution Unit has been involved in the investigation, the matter was transferred to the High Court sitting in Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court and pre-trial proceedings would get under way on 19 July.
The unit attended Friday's appearance, where a trial date was also set for 25 October.
The accused, who in previous appearances strongly denied their involvement in the murder of the well-known soccer star, face charges of murder, attempted murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, being in possession of a firearm, and possession of ammunition.
The case was postponed in November last year for the final indictment and related documents to be finalised before it was transferred to the High Court.
At the time, state prosecutor George Baloyi told the court that there were outstanding forensic investigations that would inform the form and substance of the indictment.
The breakthrough in the protracted cold case was announced by Police Minister Bheki Cele last year after the accused were arrested on 26 October, the day which marked six years to the day since Meyiwa was shot and killed at the Vosloorus home of his girlfriend, actress and musician Kelly Khumalo.
A scuffle had ensued at the home on the day, around 20:00, after two people barged in with a firearm and a knife, demanding money and cellphones from the victims.
Among those who were present were Khumalo’s mother, Gladness, and Khumalo’s sister.
Meyiwa’s friend, Tumelo Madlala, as well as Mthokozisi Thwala were also present.
Meyiwa was declared dead on arrival at Botshelong healthcare facility after he was shot in the chest.
The soccer star’s family previously expressed their anguish over the delay in the arrest of whoever was the alleged mastermind behind the murder.
A leaked document in a previous court appearance revealed that the cellphone records of Khumalo would be obtained as part of the probe. But her lawyer, Magdelene Moonsamy, said she had not been formally charged or implicated in the murder.
"We wish to place it on record that our client is not implicated nor charged in this matter and is therefore not a suspect," the lawyer said.
The head of AfriForum's prosecuting unit, advocate Gerrie Nel, said the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) failure to act against the mastermind was of grave concern, especially since there was "ample proof to arrest this person, according to the unit".
"Now the prosecutor wants to transfer the case to the High Court on a charge that does not consider the element of premeditation. We have already said at the previous court appearance that the continuous failure to act against the mastermind is damaging the case.
"This person allegedly contracted assassins to commit the murder. The current charge does not allow for the deduction to be made that Meyiwa was killed during the execution of an assassination. It is therefore irrational to transfer the case at this stage to the High Court."