The Senzo Meyiwa murder trial faced a disturbance as three of the accused individuals engaged in a scuffle with an armed prison warder during a tea break at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. The altercation reportedly stemmed from the accused sitting in an disorderly manner on the court benches. The incident prompted Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng to call for decorum, emphasizing that he was not making any findings on the matter and urging everyone involved to “behave” and “act like adults.”
According to the prison warder, who was armed and in bulletproof clothing, he approached one of the accused, Maphisa, and requested him to sit down properly. He claimed that he had previously warned the accused about their seating behavior. The situation escalated when the accused allegedly refused to comply, with one of them threatening to hit the warder. A scuffle ensued, drawing attention from others in the court.
Defense attorneys provided different perspectives on the incident. Advocate Charles Mnisi, representing accused three (Mncube), stated that his client was attempting to defend himself during the scuffle. Advocate Zithulele Nxumalo, representing Maphisa, argued that his client had always sat in that manner, and the issue arose only on that particular day. Meanwhile, Advocate Bakwena Monyeki, representing accused five (Ntuli), claimed his client was not paying attention to the scuffle and was surprised by it.
Judge Mokgoatlheng stressed that law enforcement officers have the responsibility to ensure decorum in court but discouraged any resort to physical altercations. He emphasized the need for resolution through communication rather than confrontation.
Earlier in the trial, Sergeant Vusumuzi Mogane underwent cross-examination about AVL vehicle tracking records on the day he transported accused one and two. The trial has entered a phase to determine the voluntariness of confessions made by Sibiya and Ntanzi, constituting a trial-within-a-trial.
In light of these developments, the trial’s continuation is awaited, and the focus remains on upholding order and fairness in the courtroom. The legal process is ongoing, with the hope that issues can be addressed through dialogue rather than physical confrontation, allowing for a thorough and just examination of the case.