Senzo Meyiwa: Teffo 'switches gear' claims case being heard in wrong court, challenges jurisdiction

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State Prosecutor, Advocate George Baloyi, with defence lawyers, Adv Malesela Teffo, attorney TT Thobane and Zandile Mshololo discussing dates for postponements. (Photo by Kgomotso Medupe)
State Prosecutor, Advocate George Baloyi, with defence lawyers, Adv Malesela Teffo, attorney TT Thobane and Zandile Mshololo discussing dates for postponements. (Photo by Kgomotso Medupe)
  • Advocate Malesela Teffo has objected to a postponement in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial. 
  • Teffo, who represents four of the accused, has now claimed that the High Court in Pretoria does not have the jurisdiction to hear the trial and therefore cannot postpone the matter. 
  • The State had previously submitted in court papers that Teffo had no objection about the transfer of the case from Johannesburg to Pretoria. 

In opposing a postponement in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, Advocate Malesela Teffo has now claimed that the wrong court is hearing the trial, challenging the jurisdiction, and further claiming two of the accused were arrested and detained unlawfully.

Advocate Zandile Mshololo, who represents one of the accused, asked for a postponement in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Monday.

The need for a postponement arose after she was handed a copy of the second docket pertaining to the murder of the former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper.

News24 previously reported that there were two dockets investigated which came to different findings and suspects.

The first docket is the case currently before the court, while the second lists Meyiwa's girlfriend Kelly Khumalo and others as the people responsible for his murder.

Teffo, who represents four of the accused vehemently opposed the postponement.

READ | Senzo Meyiwa: Defence plans to apply for case to be discharged

Teffo started his argument by delivering a tirade against the court, accusing Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela of excluding defence counsel from proceedings and being disrespectful towards him.

He further claimed that his client's rights were being deliberately violated which would lead to the collapse of the decorum of the court.

The main thrust of Teffo's argument was that the High Court in Pretoria did not have the jurisdiction to hear the trial and as a result did not have the power to postpone the matter.

Teffo said:

The jurisdiction of this matter is common cause that it's under the local division South Gauteng in Johannesburg.

"This court does not have the jurisdiction to entertain this case."

Teffo then asserted that procedures were grossly violated as only the Minister of Justice could transfer the matter from one jurisdiction to another, but that it was the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) who decided that the trial be held in Pretoria as opposed to Johannesburg.

Teffo then alerted the court that he would bring a review application or appeal if the court granted the application.

Moving back to his arguments, Teffo focused on a document by the National Director of Public Prosecution Shamila Batohi in which she corresponded her decision to have the matter transferred.

He noted that the document was dated on a Sunday and questioned how Batohi could have been working when she was supposed to be at home with her children.

Teffo also doubted the signature of the document and called for the NDPP to come and verify the document in court.

Teffo then raised a different argument, claiming that two of the accused were not brought to court within 48 hours of their arrest, meaning that their arrest and continued detention was unlawful.

"If it's found that this court does not have jurisdiction, we will consider that our clients were kidnapped and tried illegally in this court," he said.

ALSO READ | Document advising that Kelly Khumalo, others be charged for Meyiwa murder holds no merit - NPA

He further claimed that this meant that the accused were being detained without trial until they were asked to plead to the charges in April. The accused were arrested in 2020.

Following Teffo's submissions, Maumela requested that heads of argument be drafted by defence counsels and the State so that he could make a ruling.

Maumela said he could not yet make a ruling as Teffo's presentation was not clear, which is why he requested heads of argument.

While the State will respond to Teffo's arguments through heads of arguments, the State had previously said that Teffo had indicated that there was no objection to the transfer of jurisdiction.

This was contained in replying papers, responding to issues previously raised by the defence.

State prosecutor, Advocate George Baloyi, had also said that the National Prosecuting Authority Act empowered the NDPP to transfer a case from one jurisdiction to another if, "... it is deemed in the interest of the administration of justice". 

Then, in terms of the Superior Courts Act, there is one Gauteng Division with its main seat in Pretoria. Section 21(1) provides that a Division has jurisdiction over all persons residing or being in, or in relation to all causes arising, and all offences triable within its area of jurisdiction, Baloyi also submitted. 

Muzikawukhulelwa S'Tembu Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa, and Fisokuhle Ntuli are accused of murdering Meyiwa in Vosloorus on 26 October 2014.

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