Drama at Senzo Meyiwa trial as TT Thobane exchanges words with judge

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There was a bit of drama at the Senzo Meyiwa trial on Tuesday morning when attorney TT Thobane exchanged words with Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela.

This after the state had objected to Thobane asking state witness Tumelo Madlala if he could take out his phone.

Livestream of the trial:


Thobane had been questioning Madlala on keeping track of time and the state was not happy when Thobane asked Madlala what time he had been picked up from where he had spent the night to come to the court this morning. 

The state objected to the question saying there were security issues around the witness. 

Judge Tshifhiwa instructed Thobane not to proceed with the question and move on to the next question. 

“I am not saying he should answer the question. I am replying to the objection. Whether he answers the question, the court will make a ruling on that. Let me finish my submission to the state,” explained Thobane. 

“No need to finish it. Go to another question,” insisted the judge. 

“Your lordship is dictating to me now?” 


Thobane told Maumela that what he was doing was “not procedural for the court.”  

But Maumela, audibly sounding irritated, would not hear any of it, insisting, “No, go to another question. If you don’t have another question, sit down.” 

“No, no, no. Your lordship, you cannot tell me to sit down. Your lordship…” 

“If you don’t have another question…” 

“Who said I don’t have another question?” 

“Then ask another question.” 

Leaning forward, Thobane repeated, “Your lordship, your lordship” much to the annoyance of the judge. 

“Don’t do that to me. What are you doing to me?” 

“Your lordship I am trying to reply to the state…” 

“Why must you repeat it?” 

Thobane eventually asked for an adjournment as it was about time for the tea break. 

Post the tea adjournment, the judge would still not hear any of it, admonishing Thobane for his conduct. 

“Why are you talking while I am still talking. I was very clear to you to say, ‘ask another question,” insisted the judge saying the question compromised the security of the witness. 

“I am not going to give other reasons for that. I have ruled and I am ruling now that we are not going back to the question. If you can help it and I am saying if you can because I don’t think you can … if you can, please avoid arguing with me when I have made a ruling. If I have made a ruling and if it is a wrong one you have options. I am not sure who you are trying to show off to that when a ruling is made you can get cocky. I don’t think that is how a lawyer should behave.” 

Madlala, who was one of the people who was in the house the night the former Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa was murdered, has been facing cross-examination from Thobane since the resumption of the trial on Monday.  

The trial is expected to continue until the 2nd of December.  

Advocate Zandile Mshololo for accused No. 5 will commence her leg of the cross-examination once Thobane has concluded his cross-examination of the witness.