Trial of student Palesa Madiba's alleged killer postponed to finalise defence instructions

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Dumisani Mkhwanazi, 36, appears in the Protea Magistrate's Court in connection with the murder of UJ student Palesa Madiba.
Dumisani Mkhwanazi, 36, appears in the Protea Magistrate's Court in connection with the murder of UJ student Palesa Madiba.
Jeanette Chabalala/News24
  • The trial of University of Johannesburg student Palesa Madiba's alleged killer has been postponed.
  • Dumisani Mkhwanazi's lawyer intended to withdraw from the matter because he did not receive instructions.
  • The 2013 matter was rolled over for a week to finalise instructions.

The trial of Palesa Madiba's alleged killer, which was scheduled to commence in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday, was postponed.

This came after Dumisani Mkhwanazi's lawyer, Dominic Thinani, told the court he intended to withdraw from the case as he had not received instructions.

"The mother of the accused – who was giving instructions – passed away. The person that took over has not kept the commitment," he told the court.

"This is not an easy case and it needs instruction. The Covid-19 lockdown also made it impossible for me to consult," he further explained.

Mkhwanazi was shocked to learn that his lawyer had not been paid his fees and he requested the court to allow him to make one phone call to rectify the matter.

The court gave the accused one week to finalise instructions and if the matter could not be resolved by then, the accused must apply for Legal Aid.

The presiding Judge Prince Manyathi emphasised that this was a 2013 matter and it needed to be finalised.

The matter was subsequently postponed to Monday, 9 November.

READ | UJ student Palesa Madiba's murder case moved to High Court

Mkhwanazi is facing charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, defeating the administration of justice, the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Madiba, a University of Johannesburg (UJ) student, went missing following a sleepover at her friend Tshidi Mkhwanazi's house in Phiri, Soweto, on 9 August 2013.

Earlier, News24 reported that Tshidi told Madiba's relatives she last saw her on that day when she left her at home in Phiri.

Tshidi is the accused's niece.

On 16 December 2015, Madiba's body was found in a shallow grave behind Tshidi's home after a neighbour noticed an arm protruding from the ground, News24 reported.

The State is expected to call 13 witnesses during the trial, including the accused's niece Tshidi.

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