Hysterical woman disrupts Selebi trial

THE court hearing the corruption case of Jackie Selebi was disrupted yesterday morning when a woman screamed and removed her clothes in protest against her husband's murder case.

The woman, dressed in a black jacket and black head scarf, sat quietly for more than an hour before proceedings in the high court in Johannesburg started.

Once the trial got under way, she pulled out a banner covered in Aids ribbons and pictures of women blowing trumpets.

She then screamed that she wanted prosecutor Gerrie Nel to tell her when her case - where she appears to be accused of murder - would get under way, saying it had been 10 years.

Officials tried to remove her from the court but as they pulled her away she wrenched her clothing off, leaving her in a black slip and stockings as she sat on the floor. The woman had earlier identified herself as "Ellen".

"I propose and ask everyone in this room to give me an ear . I am in prison for 10 years. My husband was killed. Mr Gerrie Nel is not bringing my case to court.

"They say I have blood on my hands," she said, adding that she believed her husband's killers were free.

As officials tried to remove her, she shouted hysterically: "Pick me up if you want to. Kill me if you want to. Let me talk, let me talk . If I have to die today like my husband, take a gun and shoot me. You tell me how my matter is going to be addressed . I am asking to be killed if my matter is not to be addressed . What must I do now . I'm a prisoner."

When court proceedings resumed, the lawyer told the judge the matter was unrelated to the Selebi matter.

The court heard that the State Security Ministry wanted to apply for leave to appeal a decision compelling an ex-intelligence official to testify in Selebi's case.

"I am instructed to apply for leave to appeal against the judgment," said the ministry's lawyer Marumo Moerane.

Last week Judge Meyer Joffe heard arguments about an application by the ministry to have ex-intelligence coordinator Barry Gilder exempt from testifying to protect sensitive information. - Sapa