The trial of the murder of footballer Senzo Meyiwa has taken a turn, with the court resorting to audio records to answer questions about the initial lawyer of one of the accused, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi. The case, which has been ongoing since Meyiwa’s death in 2014, has seen Ntanzi, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Mthobisi Mncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa, and Sifisokuhle Nkani Ntuli charged with the murder. The incident occurred at the home of Meyiwa’s then-girlfriend, Kelly Khumalo’s mother, in Vosloorus. All the accused have pleaded not guilty.
The focus of the recent court proceedings has been on the legal representation of Ntanzi. His initial lawyer, Attorney Ntokozo Mjiyako, withdrew from representing Ntanzi in a letter dated March 2, 2021. This information was revealed through an audio recording of proceedings in the Boksburg magistrate’s court. Ntanzi’s defense in the Pretoria high court is now trying to prove that Ntanzi was not legally represented by Mjiyako.
Advocate Thulani Mngomezulu, representing Ntanzi, stated that Ntanzi had tried to get the attention of the magistrate to inform him that Mjiyako did not represent him, but his attempts were unsuccessful. In the audio recording of the magistrate’s court proceedings of October 27, 2020, prosecutor advocate George Baloyi placed on record that Ntanzi was represented by Mjiyako, while the other accused were not represented. When Ntanzi tried to address the court, the magistrate reminded him that he was legally represented and his lawyer should do the talking, referring to Mjiyako. Mjiyako then spoke on behalf of Ntanzi, stating that he would not apply for baiI. In another audio clip from March 5, 2021, Baloyi informed the court that Mjiyako was withdrawing as Ntanzi’s lawyer, handing a letter from Mjiyako to the court.
Mjiyako was not present in court on that day. Ntanzi, addressing the court in IsiZulu, stated that Mjiyako wanted him to admit to the murder, which is why he “ran away”. He elected to appoint a legal aid lawyer. Mjiyako was the lawyer who represented him when he allegedly made a confession before a magistrate and was part of a plea bargain process.
The audio recordings also revealed that Ntanzi and Mncube raised concerns. However, the details of these concerns were not specified in the search results. The trial continues in the high court in Pretoria. The case has seen several delays, including a postponement to January 2024 after one of the defense advocates fell ill. The use of court audio records in this case highlights the importance of accurate record-keeping in legal proceedings, and how they can be used to clarify or challenge aspects of a case.