Justice for Senzo Meyiwa

Senzo Robert Meyiwa was gunned down nearly nine years ago. He was shot and killed in a home invasion on October 26, 2014. Five men were arrested in 2020 for their alleged involvement in the murder of the former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper. The five accused, Fisokuhle Ntuli, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, and Mthokoziseni Maphisa, are charged with murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, possession of firearms without a license, and possession of ammunition. To say that the ongoing trial of the slain football star has been nothing short of sensationalist and error-prone is putting it mildly. Meyiwa’s trial has been postponed a few times due to an array of events. His trial was yet again postponed this year due to the ill health of the then-presiding judge, Tshifhiwa Maumela.

As it stands now, the restart of the trial began on July 18, 2023. A new judge is presiding over the court proceedings. It is worth mentioning that trial work and testimony done over the past 15 months will now be overlooked. The men charged with his murder are now eligible for bail. Judge Ratha Mokgoathleng has come out of retirement to continue with Senzo’s murder trial. The five state witnesses who have already taken the stand will have to be recalled. One state witness has already testified since the restart of the trial last week.

Many were concerned when news broke of the appointment of a new judge and the court proceedings starting afresh. With so many setbacks, will justice ever prevail? Gerrie Nel, Legal Representative for the Meyiwa family, says while they are devastated by the news of a restart of the murder trial, they have placed their confidence in Judge Mokgoathleng. According to legal expert Jonathan White, Consultant Attorney at Thomson Wilks Head Office Sandton, one of the ways to determine guilt in a case like this depends on the credibility and probability of the witnesses. In previous court proceedings, the witnesses gave conflicting testimony as to what happened on the night Meyiwa was killed. If this is anything to go by, maybe a trial de novo (starting from scratch) could be a good sign. One thing that should remain prevalent, is seeking justice for Senzo Meyiwa. As the trial continues, one can only hope that the new presiding judge, Judge Mokgoathleng keeps his wits about him and does just that.

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