Zandile Khumalo, singer Kelly Khumalo’s sister, has taken the stand as a new state witness in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial on Thursday. This comes after she unsuccessfully sought to have the live broadcast of her testimony banned.
Judge Tshifiwa Maumela ruled that the media will be permitted to broadcast her testimony live by means of audio, without showing her face, just as was the case with the two previous witnesses, Tumelo Madlala and Mthokozisi Thwala.
After a slight delay, Khumalo walked in dressed in black, spotting a golden-tainted hair. Speaking in Zulu, Khumalo says, she has chosen not to appeal the judgment by the court because she didn’t want to delay the case any further and she wanted justice to be served for Meyiwa.
‘Issues of safety and privacy’
On Monday, the state brought an application on behalf of their next witness – who was in the house the night former Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa was shot and killed – seeking a complete ban on the live broadcast of her evidence in court via audio and visuals.
Delivering the much-anticipated judgment on Thursday morning, Judge Maumela says the witness had only raised issues of safety and privacy, among others, through the state but did not provide any evidence to show the court that she would be prejudiced if her testimony would be carried out live.
“Up till now, this court does not know which peril the witness faces if she testifies (with the live audio broadcast of her testimony),” explains Maumela.
Highlighting the magnitude of the interest in the case, locally and internationally, the judge says the witness’s right should be pitted against the rights all of other people.
“There has to be a firm understanding that the proceedings in this case are about the murder of the late Senzo Meyiwa, which affected those who hold him dearly, including the family, and the fans of Orlando Pirates,” says Maumela.
On Wednesday, Advocate Zandile Mshololo argued that granting the application to ban the live broadcast of the witness’s testimony, would affect the constitutional rights of the society which need to have direct access to the court.
“If the audio recording is not granted, then the public will get what is referred to as secondhand information from the few journalists who would be lucky to sit in this court and that information is liable to be inaccurate because they would be relying on the understanding of the reporters,” says Mshololo.
“The constitutional right of the society to have direct access to the court would be affected.”
Judge has noted this, saying “It is the argument of the defense in this case that where restrictions are put in place, which limit the measure of access to information, this may result in a negative image being attached to the criminal justice.”
In 2020, Muzi Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa, and Fisokuhle Ntuli were charged with Meyiwa’s murder, attempted murder of other witnesses, robbery with aggravating circumstances, unlawful possession of a firearm, and possession of ammunition.
They have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
It is the state’s case that on the night of 26 October 2014, two intruders allegedly stormed into Kelly Khumalo’s mother, Gladness’ house in Vosloorus where Meyiwa, Madlala, Gladness, Kelly, Zandi Khumalo, Longwe Twala, and Mthokozisi Thwala were sitting in the lounge watching TV. The alleged first intruder, who was short, had a hat on, had dreadlocks, and armed with a gun, is said to have demanded cellphones and money. This was moments before he was pushed over by Longwe Twala as he (Longwe) ran out of the house just before a commotion ensued in the house in the presence of the second alleged intruder before a shot that killed Meyiwa went off.