Malema-Ndlozi assault trial: Court hears that witness failed to mention complainant in initial statement

EFF leader Julius Malema and former party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi. Picture: Morapedi Mashashe
EFF leader Julius Malema and former party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi. Picture: Morapedi Mashashe
  • Defence lawyers have grilled a state witness in the assault trial of Julius Malema and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi on his initial statement.
  • The court has heard that the complainant's name was not mentioned in the initial statement.
  • Malema and Ndlozi are on trial for the alleged assault of Lieutenant Colonel Johannes Venter during the burial of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

A witness in the assault trial of EFF leader Julius Malema and EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi failed to mention the complainant's name in his initial statement, the Randburg Magistrate's Court in Gauteng heard on Thursday.

Malema and Ndlozi are on trial for allegedly assaulting Lieutenant Colonel Johannes Jacobus Venter during Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's funeral at Fourways Memorial Cemetery in Johannesburg on 14 April 2018.

Malema and Ndlozi's lawyer, advocate Laurance Hodes SC, questioned state witness Gilbert Maphisa about his statement in December 2019.

Maphisa, a staff sergeant with just over 30 years' experience, was stationed outside the Fourways Memorial Cemetery on 14 April 2018.

READ | Assault case: Malema was like Mama Winnie's 'son' - court hears a statement from late Zindzi Mandela

Addressing Maphisa, Hodes said: "When you look at your statement, you won't find Colonel Venter's name in your statement."

Maphisa agreed, to which Hodes followed up and asked whether he remembered Venter's name at the time he made the statement, almost 16 months after the incident.

Maphisa told the court he did remember Venter's name, which was followed by Hodes questioning why it was not mentioned in the statement.

The witness responded: 

When I was doing the statement explaining to the police officer, he did not ask me who was in charge. He just asked me what happened.

Hodes was not satisfied with this answer and repeated the question.

Maphisa responded that he would state "everything else in court".

Hodes shook his head and gave the following proposition to the witness: "You did not remember his name".

However, Maphisa denied this, stating that he had remembered Venter's name.

"You are not telling the truth on this, and I am going to expose this in court. Do you understand the challenge?" Hodes said.

Maphisa, however, maintained that he was telling the truth.

Malema and Ndlozi face an assault charge. They have pleaded not guilty.

The trial continues.

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