Lawyer sick, trial deferred

Dudu Busani

Dudu Busani

The Jeppestown massacre trial had to be postponed after a defence lawyer complained about being in pain at the Johannesburg high court yesterday.

Advocate Sibusiso Mbatha asked the judge for an adjournment, stating that he was in pain and suspected that his ribs were hurt when he fell down the stairs at his home the previous night.

Mbatha and nine other defence lawyers representing the 13 accused were expected to cross-examine Captain Nelson Rathumbu, a fingerprint expert who examined the crime scene.

Rathumbu had previously told the court that Mbatha's client, Muzulelwa Vezi, 28, and co-accused Sihle Mdunge, were among the people whose fingerprints were found at the crime scene.

Maria Maleke, 29, Senzo Mweli, 26, Nkosinathi Mchunu, 31, Sizwe Mbuyazi, 25, Khumbulani Mabaso, 33, Sizwe Dlamini, 21, Sihle Mdunge, 25, Muzulelwa Vezi, 28, Siyanda Mngomezulu, 23, Linda Hlongwa, 22, Bekokwakhe Zulu, 28, Mkhonzeni Sesiba, 29 and Zinto Mqunu, 27, are in the dock for murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, charges.

Maleke, the only female accused, is alleged to have been the mastermind behind the robbery committed by the 12 men at a Pick 'n Pay supermarket in Honeydew where she was employed.

Later on that day the men were engaged in a shoot-out with the police at a house in Jeppestown.

Four policemen and eight alleged robbers died. The trial continues.