Meyiwa trial: cross-examination of ballistic expert delayed for a month

The court will meanwhile continue hearing evidence from other witnesses

Senzo Meyiwa was shot dead in October 2014. File photo.
Senzo Meyiwa was shot dead in October 2014. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/Darren Stewart

The Pretoria high court has postponed to May 20 the cross-examination of a ballistic expert whose evidence links a gun to the murder of soccer star Senzo Meyiwa.

However, the trial will continue hearing evidence from other witnesses.

Ballistic expert Lt-Col Christian Mangena, who has already testified on crucial evidence about the alleged murder weapon eight months ago, is yet to be cross-examined.

Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng has raised concern about the long delay in cross-examining Mangena, especially given the crucial evidence he has tendered to the court.

“Forensic evidence is very sensitive. You can't expect an expert to wait eight months to be cross-examined,” he said.

Last August, Mangena's cross-examination was halted for the defence to consult its ballistics expert to counter his evidence.

However, the court heard on Monday that his cross-examination could not begin because the defence was waiting to hear from the Legal Aid Board about whether it would finance the unpaid amount for the services of the expert they consulted.

According to the defence, some of the money has been paid but there is an outstanding balance. 

On Tuesday, a representative from the Legal Aid Board in Pretoria, Flavia Isola, told the court that the defence's application to fund its private ballistic expert was submitted on April 5, a few days before the resumption of the trial after recess.

“We received the email and immediately responded that they need to get permission to do so and set out why they need an expert, and submit a costing of that expert,” she said.

Further, Isola said the defence had not yet furnished them with the costs of the expert.

She, however, indicated that if the costs are less than R50,000, the approval could take about two days. It would take longer if the amount was higher.

Defence advocate Charles Mnisi said the expert's preliminary report was ready.

Having considered this, Mokgoatlheng postponed Mangena's cross-examination by a month.

“Everybody here should go over the evidence tendered by Mangena to refresh on the evidence, to be able to cross-examine,” he said.

Mangena's evidence linked the gun to Mthobisi Prince Mncube.

Mncube, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya‚ Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi‚ Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa and Fisokuhle Nkani Ntuli are accused of murdering Meyiwa in Vosloorus in October 2014. 

All have pleaded not guilty.

Meanwhile, proceedings were halted early as the defence raised an issue concerning amendments of a witness's affidavit during testimony.

The state introduced witness Lt-Col Gideon Gouws, who took over the data analysis in the case after Col Lambertus Steyn retired.

Gouws testified that on September 4 2023 he was asked by the lead investigator, Brig Bongani Gininda, to analyse some phones. Steyn has already testified on how he analysed data from cellphones belonging to various accused, linking them to each other.

He also linked Ntuli to Meyiwa's then-girlfriend Kelly Khumalo.

The trial continues on Wednesday.


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