Advocate Malesela Teffo said he has been labelled as a problematic lawyer who will disturb a plan hatched by the State and, as a result, he has received harassment from the judge, the police and the National Prosecuting Authority.
PRETORIA – Advocate Malesela Teffo, the lawyer representing four of the five men accused of killing Bafana Bafana star Senzo Meyiwa, has withdrawn from the case, saying he was being harassed by the State and the judge.
Teffo announced his decision on Tuesday afternoon after the trial resumed following almost a month adjournment.
The adjournment came after Teffo said he wanted to challenge the jurisdiction of the court, saying the matter should be heard in the Johannesburg High Court and not in the Pretoria High Court.
However, on Tuesday morning, Teffo abandoned his application to challenge the jurisdiction, instead, Teffo said he will make presentations to the National Director of Public Prosecution (NDPP) for the charges against his clients to be dropped.
In the afternoon, as the matter was about to be adjourned, Teffo made the announcement that he was withdrawing from the case.
“It is an opportune moment for me to inform this court that I am withdrawing,” a sombre-sounding Teffo told the court.
He told the court that he has received harassment from the judge, the police and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
“I came into this case knowing what will be the consequences. On 28 April when I was arrested in your court your lordship, that was a plan and the plan was hatched in the president’s office.
“I am labelled a problematic lawyer because I am disturbing that plan, the plan is that my clients should take responsibility of the murder of Senzo Meyiwa, despite the fact that they were innocent.”
Teffo was interjected by State prosecutor, advocate George Baloyi, saying Teffo should focus on the withdrawal and not explain things that are not relevant as it’s unfair to name people who are not in court to defend themselves.
“Mr Baloyi, I am the one withdrawing, can you sit down?,” Teffo said to Baloyi.
However, Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela quickly cut in and told Teffo to focus on the withdrawal and not go into detail.
“Can you please talk about withdrawal. I can’t listen to you on end, you are not allowed to be irrelevant and go on end, you have carried the message that you are withdrawing … I’m not prepared to listen to anything else,” said Maumela.
Teffo asked to be excused and left before the proceedings could be concluded for the day.
The matter has been postponed to August 2 to find out whether Teffo’s former clients have secured new representation.
The accused are Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Mncube and Mthokoziseni Maphisa.
The fifth accused, Sifisokuhle Ntuli, is represented by advocate Zandile Mshololo.
Meyiwa was killed in 2014 while visiting his girlfriend and the mother of his child, singer Kelly Khumalo, in Vosloorus.
In the house, that day were Meyiwa, Kelly and her younger sister, Zandile, their mother Ntombi Khumalo, Longwe Twala, Meyiwa’s friends Mthokozisi Thwala and Tumelo Madlala, Kelly’s then four-year-old son, Christian, and Thingo, her daughter with Meyiwa.