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AfriForum raises conflict of interest as lawyer for Senzo Meyiwa’s brother defends the men accused of killing him

23 March 2022 - 07:02
Footballer Senzo Meyiwa was gunned down in October 2014 in what was described as a botched robbery in Vosloorus, east of Johannesburg, File photo.
Footballer Senzo Meyiwa was gunned down in October 2014 in what was described as a botched robbery in Vosloorus, east of Johannesburg, File photo.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

AfriForum’s private prosecution unit has expressed concern that there may be a conflict of interest between the lawyer appointed to represent four of the men accused of killing footballer Senzo Meyiwa, and his brother, Sifiso.

When the accused appeared in the high court in Pretoria last week for a pretrial hearing, four of the five accused told the court they had appointed Malesela Teffo as their advocate.

Teffo, however, had previously represented the slain footballer’s brother Sifiso when he pursued justice for Senzo.

Senzo was gunned down in October 2014 in what was described as a botched robbery in Vosloorus, east of Johannesburg, in the presence of his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo, her mother Ntombi, sister Zandi, Zandi’s boyfriend Longwe Twala and his friends Mthokozisi Twala and Tumelo Madlala.

AfriForum, which is representing Senzo’s mother Ntombifuthi and his sisters Zama and Nomalanga Meyiwa, said this development could lead to further delays in the trial. 

“It is very unusual that the same representative who is acting on behalf of a certain family member is also defending some of the accused persons. We agree with state advocate George Baloi that there is probably a conflict of interest, and our main concern is that the sudden change in  legal representatives will probably delay the matter further,” said advocate Gerrie Nel. 

Speaking to TimesLIVE, Teffo said there was nothing sinister about the move. 

“There is no conflict at all because Sifiso and the families of [the] four requested me and my attorney to defend them. Sifiso always believed nobody entered the house and shot Senzo but that the killer and his/her murder weapon were in the house,” Teffo said. 

His clients are Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube and Mthokoziseni Maphisa, who stand accused of murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, the possession of firearms without a licence and possession of ammunition.

The fifth suspect, Fisokuhle Ntuli, is represented by his own lawyer.

Teffo last week told the court his clients intended to bring a special plea. He said he has submitted representations to the state for the discontinuation of the trial. They want the state to focus on a case against Senzo’s girlfriend, Khumalo, and all those who were present on the night he was gunned down.

The case is set to return to court on April 11. 

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