Advocate Gerrie Nel said he is ’old-school’ and he strongly believes the decorum of the High Court of South Africa must be respected at all times.
PRETORIA – Respected legal eagle, advocate Gerrie Nel, who is representing the Meyiwa family in the trial of five men accused of the 2014 murder of Bafana Bafana ace goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, said professional decorum must be respected in courts at all times.
Nel was speaking to broadcaster eNCA in the High Court in Pretoria, reacting to the social media frenzy following the “f***** up situation” remarks made in court, in the presence of a judge, by advocate Malesela Teffo who represents four of the five accused men.
“I have seen what you have seen on social media. I am shocked and disappointed. I am old-school and perhaps just old – people will say that and I agree. I just believe in the decorum. The decorum of the High Court of South Africa.
“I think we are busy with something very serious and I expect the integrity of the court, and the decorum of the court. I wouldn’t want to say anything more on that.”
On Wednesday morning, Teffo resumed with his cross-examination of police forensic expert Sergeant Thabo Mosia, the first witness called by the State.
He mentioned that he was apologetic for the “other word” he used on Tuesday.
Moments after the court started on Wednesday, the presiding judge, Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela, mentioned in jest to Teffo: “Yesterday you were mentioning strange things here.”
The trial has had exhilarating twists and turns, but none had prepared throngs of South Africans religiously following the trial for the “f***** up situation” remarks made in court, and broadcast live on television news channels, by Teffo.
The impassioned counsel made the comments on Tuesday while cross-examining Mosia, whom he accuses of lying in a bid to cover up what transpired on the fateful night on October 26, 2014, at the Khumalo home in Vosloorus.
Teffo charged: “I can put it to you that, here, you are doing your utmost best to be evasive and protect the whole. What is the best way Your Lordship (Judge Maumela), I want to say the f***** up situation.”
The counsel later apologised, telling the judge: “That may be a slip out of my tongue, but this is not the fault of my mind. So, in my mind, in the reality where something is not unto, I will always apologise. Thank you. Can I proceed with the witness? Thank you.”
In disbelief, frenzied social media users questioned if they had correctly heard the counsel’s address to the judge, while others expressed love for the lawyer – who has amassed a loyal following since his recent arrest in court and his pointed cross-examination, which has often irked the lead prosecutor in the trial, advocate George Baloyi.
By Wednesday morning, “Teffo” was still a top trend on Twitter.
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 4-year-old son, Christian, and Thingo, her daughter with Meyiwa.
Five men, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Mncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa and Sifokuhle Ntuli, are facing charges of murder, attempted murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, possession of an unlicensed firearm as well as possession of ammunition. All of the accused have pleaded not guilty.