The judge said although he was running an open court, he was surprised that he was at times getting communication regarding his case and what was to be expected in the matter on publication billboards.
PRETORIA – Senzo Meyiwa murder trial presiding officer, Gauteng High Court, Pretoria’s Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela, said he had a physician called Jesus and needed no augmentation.
“But this might not be a story for today,” the judge said, responding to allegations of witchcraft levelled against him by advocate Malesela Teffo, who was representing four of the five Senzo Meyiwa murder accused.
The court was seeking to appoint legal counsel for the four ahead of the main trial in September.
Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Mncube and Mthokoziseni Maphisa were left without legal counsel after Teffo informed the court three weeks ago he was quitting as their legal counsel.
Teffo, in the absence of his instructing attorney, TT (Timothy) Thobane, told the court he was exiting the matter as a result of “harassment” from the court and the State during the last sitting.
Following that, however, things took a dramatic turn as Teffo, in a letter sent to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the court, made shocking statements, including that the presiding Judge Maumela “has brought his sangoma to court”.
In another letter written to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, Teffo said the main reason which made him withdraw from the case was that the judge was using muti against him.
Judge Maumela said although he was running an open court, he was surprised that he was at times getting communication regarding his case and what was to be expected in the matter on publication billboards.
“You find yourself seeing these billboards as you’re driving and end up wondering if this is the same matter you’re presiding over, and I wouldn’t have mentioned it if it didn’t happen repeatedly.”
Judge Maumela said when reading these billboards it appeared to be addressed to him, which made him concerned about whether the court had become a pen pal for legal counsel.
Despite this, he said he felt he wanted to respond to specific issues raised, such as those that involved his faith.
“The matter of my physician is not a matter for anybody and it’s even irrelevant here, but because of what is happening one needs to say it loud.”