The death of one of the state witnesses meant to testify in the murder trial of soccer star, Senzo Meyiwa, has been confirmed.
The National Prosecuting Authority has confirmed that Brigadier Philani Ndlovu passed away, but said he was not regarded as a key witness.
“His role was limited to his presence at the place of the incident and the management of the crime scene. It should be noted that his statement had not been obtained by the investigators,” said the NPA in a statement.
“There are several other witnesses who will give relevant evidence on the merits of the case. The State is still confident that it has sufficient evidence to ensure a successful prosecution in this case,” it added.
This comes just weeks before the trial is expected to resume in the High Court in Pretoria
Ndlovo was identified by a state witness as one of the first people to respond to the scene where Meyiwa was murdered and was expected to appear as the State’s witness.
The Meyiwa murder trial is expected to resume on 30 May, after the last session ended on a dramatic note with advocate Malesela Teffo, who is representing four of the suspects in the murder trial, getting arrested.
Teffo was arrested inside the high court last month and led away in handcuffs in front of television cameras, just after proceedings in the Meyiwa murder trial were postponed.
Although Teffo’s arrest was highly criticised, the South African Police Service (SAPS) said Teffo was previously arrested on charges of common assault and trespassing.
Teffo allegedly assaulted a female SAPS member and entered the SAPS Gauteng Provincial building, in contravention of a high court interdict prohibiting him from entering the said building.
After failing to appear before the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court on several occasions, including on 27 January 2022, a warrant of arrest (J165) was issued and withheld, said the SAPS.
Teffo’s case was remanded to 10 February 2022. Advocate Teffo was again not in court, and bail was finally forfeited to the state.
An instruction was then issued by the court for the warrant of arrest to be executed. SAPS said Teffo was aware of the warrant of arrest.
He appeared in the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court on 29 April 2022 where he was granted bail of R10,000. The case was postponed to 27 May 2022.
Sifisokuhle Ntuli, Muzikawukhulelwa Sthemba Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Ncube, and Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa – who are charged with murdering the Bafana Bafana captain in Vosloorus in 2014 – will remain behind bars until the next appearance.
The suspects are already serving various sentences for convictions in other unrelated cases.
When the court resumes on 30 May, the cross-examination will continue with advocate Zandile Mshololo, representing the fifth accused, Ntuli, taking the stand.