‘Witness’s application to ban live broadcast in Meyiwa trial is based on a dream’


The application to ban the live broadcast of the testimony by the state’s next now-much-anticipated witness in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, is “based on a dream”. That’s according to attorney Dan Rosengarten, who is representing the media following the controversial application that brought the trial in the North Gauteng High Court to a halt since Monday.

Referring to a post the witness made in November 2021, Rosengarten says, she posted: “After work, I had a late afternoon nap and had a dream where we as a family had decided ukuthi (that) we don’t want any media present in court when we testify. Not even our voices should be heard angisho sinamanga so we don’t wanna waste any more of the people’s time since is guilty already in their eyes (sic).”

Rosengarten says this is the basis for the application to ban the live broadcast of this witness evidence in court.

“This application is brought about based on a dream,” says Rosengarten.

The lawyer, who is well-known for representing the media in various cases including the Thabo Bester case, also says the witness cannot be taken seriously on raising issues of safety and privacy because she has been making media statements on the matter.

He has referred to another social media post, in which the witness says she wants her day in court.

“It looks like one is never gonna get their day in court la coz people entrusted with this case have turned into a circus so I might as well say this here and now. It really pains me that this case doesn’t look like it will be solved anytime soon because South Africa believe opportunists and populists like this one, it pains me because it means the Meyiwa family will never get justice and it pains me because it means my family will forever live under this dark cloud, this one claimed he had an eyewitness uphi? He claimed he had proof that Kelly pulled the trigger and now he withdraws, he has had his 2 minutes of fame (sic),” reads the social media post in part.

Rosengarten has also told the court that the witness has failed to demonstrate how her safety would be prejudiced by her giving her evidence while it is being broadcast live because she had previously made media statements linking her to the case, was tweeting while the matter was on, and that the witness herself was not against her testimony being reported on, over and above that the matter was being heard in an open court.

“My lord, there is a picture of her standing at the lifts of the court (posted by the witness herself). These are just generalised points that she fears for her but not why she fears for her life. We don’t know why the witness is scared. Has anyone phone her and said if you say x, y, and z … we don’t have that information,” says Rosengarten.

While the other defense lawyers chose not to argue their cases on Wednesday, opting to stick to their previous stance on the matter against the application, Advocate Zandile Mshololo slated the manner in which the state has brought the issue before the court.

She says granting the application to ban the live broadcast of the witness’s testimony, would affect the constitutional rights of the society who need to have direct access to the court.

“If the audio recording is not granted, then the public will get what is referred to as secondhand information from the few journalists who would be lucky to sit in this court and that information is liable to be inaccurate because they would be relying on the understanding of the reporters,” says Mshololo.

“The constitutional right of the society to have direct access to the court would be affected.”

Mshololo has reiterated Rosengarten’s submission that if the witness is not willing to appear before the court if her demands are not granted, she should be legally compelled to come.

“She cannot threaten this court. If she refuses the mechanism are in place to compel her to come. These people want to hear what happened (the night Meyiwa was killed). This witness cannot threaten this court,” charged Mshololo.

In the state’s submission on Monday morning, Advocate George Baloyi told the court that the next witness, who was in the house the night the former Orlando Pirates keeper was murdered, was unwilling to give testimony in court unless her demands were met.

The first ground for her demands was said to be for safety reasons.

“Secondly, if they are carried live, that could put her under pressure and make her uncomfortable. She is not prepared to give evidence if her evidence is carried live,” said Baloyi.

The matter was eventually stood down to allow the court to make a ruling on Thursday.

Senzo Meyiwa Murder Trial resumes | 17 May 2023:

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