The family of slain soccer star Senzo Meyiwa is reportedly devastated that the trial has to start de novo (from scratch). However, according to news reporters, the family believes that retired judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng will avoid delays.
The Meyiwa Murder Case
Meyiwa was gunned down in October 2014 in Vosloorus, Gauteng, in what is believed to have been a botched robbery. Five suspects were arrested in connection with his murder: Fisokuhle Ntuli, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Ncube, and Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa.
The Meyiwa murder trial started in April 2022 but has been riddled with delays. The most recent delay occurred last month when presiding judge Tshifhiwa Maumela fell ill. This month, Maumela was also suspended.
Judge Maumela’s Suspension
Judge Maumela’s suspension was recommended by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) pending the outcome of an inquiry into his alleged failure to deliver a series of reserved judgments. As a result, Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng will now preside over the trial, which is expected to start on July 17th.
According to a legal expert who spoke to eNCA last week, it is important for the new judge to observe the demeanor of the witnesses when they testify. This will help the judge determine if the witness is credible or not.
“There is a possibility that the [new] judge will say, I will look at Judge Maumela’s notes and try and work with those notes, but that will be difficult and the accused could step in and say the judge did not have a chance to observe the witnesses and their demeanor and that might be prejudicial…. so, starting de novo would be the best option.”
The expert further told the news outlet that starting over could give the defense counsel an advantage. They could compare the witnesses’ first testimonies under Judge Maumela to their new testimonies under Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng for inconsistencies.
Family Trusts New Judge
Speaking about the trial changes, Meyiwa’s brother Sifiso Meyiwa said that they trust the new judge. He told the publication that he has done his research on the new judge and discovered that he is a no-nonsense person.
“We believe he [Mokgoatlheng] will avoid delays as much as he can since he knows that the whole nation wants justice, the family wants justice, even Fifa, they want justice about this case. We trust this man a lot,” Sifiso said.
The family of slain soccer star Senzo Meyiwa is reportedly devastated that the trial has to start from scratch. However, they believe that retired judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng will avoid delays. The trial is expected to start on July 17th.