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Scuffle breaks out between Senzo Meyiwa accused and prison warder during tea break

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Three of the Senzo Meyiwa accused were involved in a scuffle with an armed prison warder during a tea break in the murder trial in the North Gauteng High Court on Monday.

Three of the Senzo Meyiwa murder accused – Mthobisi Mncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa and Fisokuhle Ntuli – were involved in a scuffle with a prison warder. Picture: Screen grab, NewzroomAfrika

THREE of the Senzo Meyiwa accused were involved in a scuffle with an armed prison warder at a tea break during the murder trial in the North Gauteng High Court on Monday.

Five accused – Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa and Fisokuhle Nkani Ntuli – are standing trial for the October 2014 murder of the footballer, who was killed at his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo’s home in Vosloorus in a suspected hit.

Mncube, Maphisa, and Ntuli were involved in the scuffle on Monday.

Footage from journalists who were in the courtroom at the time show the accused and the warder involved in a heated altercation during the tea break, with punches and closed hands thrown but not connecting.

Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng said he was not making any findings on the matter, but he called on everyone to “just behave” and “act like adults”.

“Let’s just behave; I am not making any findings on this matter. Let’s just behave ourselves.

According to the prison warder, who was dressed in a dark brown uniform, armed and wearing bulletproof clothing, he had approached Maphisa and asked him to sit down.

He demonstrated that he had been sitting in an unorderly manner on the court benches. He said he had previously warned the accused about sitting in that manner about a fortnight ago.

“Accused four was sitting on top of the court bench. I shouted, Ntuli, you cannot sit like that. He said you not going to tell me how to sit,” the warder told the court.

The warder said he approached the accused during the tea adjournment and they told him it was not his job to tell them how to sit.

“I said, Ntuli, you cannot sit like that, and they said we will hit you. Then I saw a blow coming my way from accused three. Eventually, my colleagues came closer,” he said.

Advocate Charles Mnisi, who represents accused three, Mncube, said he witnessed the scuffle and said his client was trying to defend himself.

Advocate Zithulele Nxumalo, who represents Maphisa, said his client had always been sitting in that manner, but it was only now that there was an issue with how he sat.

“My client saw the warder hit accused three with a shoulder and he did not take kindly to that,” he said.

Advocate Bakwena Monyeki for accused five, Ntuli, said his client was surprised by the scuffle because he was not paying attention at the time.

Judge Mokgoatlheng said the law enforcement officers were entitled to make sure decorum was followed in line with their duties.

“This one of fighting like we are in Parliament, I once saw our president (Cyril Ramaphosa) being rushed (on stage) and the security looked like it was being attacked. We don’t need that.

“If we are all not satisfied, we can resolve that by speaking, not fighting,” he said.

Earlier, Sergeant Vusumuzi Mogane returned to the dock to complete his cross-examination.

He is currently being cross-examined by advocate Monyeki about the AVL vehicle tracking records on the day he was with accused one and two transporting them.

The trial is currently in a trial-within-a-trial to determine if confessions made by Sibiya and Ntanzi were made freely and voluntarily.

The trial continues.

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