In a dramatic twist, Advocate Malesela Teffo has told the court he is withdrawing as counsel of accused one to four in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial.
He said he could not take the harassment he was receiving from the State and the court.
Teffo will return to his role as watching brief on behalf of the Meyiwa family.
Earlier on Tuesday, he had brought forward a letter written by accused number three regarding the “inhumane” living conditions at Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Services.
Right after leading questioning of his client Mthobisi Mncube on the unbearable living conditions, Teffo dropped a bombshell in the High Court that he was withdrawing from the case.
Teffo, an ex-police boss, has dropped President Cyril Ramaphosa’s name among those who would like the five accused to take fall for Meyiwa’s murder.
Teffo alleges that Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela is also part of the cabal that wants him removed from this case.
He will continue as a watching brief in case 375 matter where Kelly Khumalo, her mother Gladness, and sister Zandi are among the accused.
“I can no longer continue in this court based on the harassment I am receiving, both from the state and from the court,” Teffo told the high court in Pretoria on Tuesday.
He added that he would revert to his position as a watching brief for the Meyiwa family, as requested by the footballer’s brother, Sifiso Meyiwa.
“The reason I can no longer be able to be in court and face you is that there are serious allegations here, where you are accused number one,” Teffo told Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela.
The court was meant to hear Teffo’s interlocutory application to challenge the Pretoria high court’s jurisdiction to adjudicate the Meyiwa murder trial, according to Maumela’s order on 14 June.
Teffo did not adhere to the court’s order to file papers for his challenge. Instead, he submitted a letter from Mthobisi Ncube, the third accused in the trial, who alleged that he had been abused and subjected to “inhumane conditions” inside Tshwane’s Kgosi Mampuru II prison, where he is being detained.
In the letter, read out in court, Ncube, said he was placed in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day and let out for only an hour to exercise.
“I am held in mechanical restraints once outside my cell for any reason, including to visit [other inmates]. The food we are getting is not fit for an adult person,” the letter reads.
JUST IN! Adv #Teffo withdraws from the #SenzoMeyiwatrial. In his #withdrawal, #Teffo cites interference from @PresidencyZA #Ramaphosa. Saying instructions are hatched and planned from Office of "Number 1", the President of South Africa. pic.twitter.com/UaBIOtzKNO
— Thabiso Sithole (@ThabisoSithole) July 12, 2022
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State prosecutor George Baloyi told Maumela that Teffo had sent correspondence to the state saying that he would not continue with the interlocutory application to challenge the trial being moved from the Johannesburg high court, the jurisdiction under which Vosloorus, where Meyiwa was killed, falls.
Meyiwa was killed in October 2014 at the family home of his then-girlfriend, singer Kelly Khumalo, in what the state alleges to have been a botched house robbery.