Witnesses reshuffled in Sinoxolo murder case as lawyers argue over relevance

The Western Cape High Court. (James de Villiers, News24)
The Western Cape High Court. (James de Villiers, News24)

Cape Town – The aunt of the two cousins accused of murdering and raping 19-year-old Sinoxolo Mafevuka in Khayelitsha, Cape Town allegedly pressured relatives not to testify against them, the Western Cape High Court heard on Tuesday. 

In what was an attempt to have the aunt, Zandiswa Mafilika, removed from the witness roll on Tuesday, one of the accused's lawyers, Morné Calitz argued that Mafilika's testimony would be irrelevant to the cousins' alleged involvement in the case.

Mafilika was one of the State's witnesses in the murder trial of Xolisa and Athabile Mafilika. State prosecutor Ralph Zeeman said, however, that the State would not be relying on Mafilika's testimony during the trial. 

Both lawyers spent most of Tuesday's appearance reshuffling the witness list, with Zeeman also asking the court to remove two witnesses who were scheduled to appear in court today. 

The testimony of one of the witnesses, investigating officer Isaac Tshabalala, would, however, remain in the case docket. The identity of the second witness is not known. 

After an hour and a half adjournment, Zeeman requested that the matter be postponed to Wednesday morning for district surgeon Sakhumzi Radana to testify. 

He said Radana would testify on the injuries present on the accused after they were arrested on March 14, 2016, 12 days after Mafevuka's body was found. 

Zeeman said the doctor was not on the State's witness list, but his testimony has been included in the case docket. The defence did not object to Radana's appearance. 

Mafevuka was found dead in a communal toilet in SST 2 Block, Town Two, in Khayelitsha on March 2, 2016.

She was naked and her clothes were stuffed in the toilet cistern. Water from the leaking toilet is believed to have washed away any DNA evidence.

Meanwhile Xolisa and Athabile, aged 21 and 26, appeared relaxed as they stood in the dock in handcuffs. Both tried to communicate with family members who were sitting in the gallery before proceedings started. 

They've pleaded not guilty to charges of rape and murder. 

Acting Judge Taswell Papier postponed the matter to Wednesday morning.

 

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