Cape Town – The Department of Correctional Services has expressed strong disapproval of the conduct exhibited by three individuals accused in the Senzo Meyiwa murder case.
Video footage captured the accused, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa, and Fisokuhle Nkani Ntuli, attempting to assault a prison warder in a courtroom scuffle that occurred during a break in the trial on Monday.
National Commissioner Makgothi Samuel Thobakgale declared zero tolerance for such behavior and affirmed that appropriate actions would be taken, IOL reported.
According to reports, the prison warder, Vusi Jele, had confronted one of the accused for sitting on top of a court bench during a tea break.
In the midst of the break, Jele issued commands to the accused seated in the dock to sit down, but their inaudible murmurs suggested a reluctance to comply with the instruction, SABC News reported.
— Linda Mnisi (@LindA_MniSii) November 27, 2023
He advanced towards them, raising his voice with a firm declaration: “You will go down!”
The confrontation escalated when the warden initiated contact by elbowing accused 3, Mncube, leading to a full-fledged physical altercation involving the warden, Mncube, Mthobisi Maphisa, and Fisokuhle Ntuli, the report said.
As per statements from Advocate Charles Mnisi, following discussions with his client, the accused rose to stretch during a break when they were approached by the warden. They were then directed to resume their seats in the customary manner observed during court proceedings.
“Apparently, the gentleman would always command them to sit as they are sitting here as if the proceedings are on. He did that again and he told them if they didn’t want to take his instruction he would hit them. Then they said but this is an adjournment and he started to hit him with the shoulder. That’s the version I am getting,” the report quoted Mnisi as saying.
Thobakgale said: “Such utter disrespect will not be tolerated, and the department is looking into the incident.
“Correctional officials rendering escort and guarding responsibilities do so on behalf of the State.
“Any form of unbecoming behaviour warrants a security review so as to ensure the safety of those in closer proximity to the inmates.”
The commissioner said they would act without any form of hesitation.
According to EWN, the latest development comes as a police officer escorting one of the accused asserted that the accused had had various food options to choose from.
Compiled by Betha Madhomu