The defence has achieved a victory as the audio recording of an accused person’s confession related to the alleged involvement in Senzo Meyiwa’s murder has been declared inadmissible.
The trial took place in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, focusing on the admissibility of confession statements made by Bongani Ntanzi and his co-accused, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya.
Magistrate Vivian Cronje, who took Ntanzi’s confession in June 2020, testified that she recorded the entire interview with the suspect in the presence of his legal representative.
However, she did not inform Ntanzi or his lawyer about the recording.
The state had initially intended not to use the three-hour recording as evidence but changed its decision on Wednesday.
The defence challenged the admissibility of the recording, leading to arguments from both sides on Thursday.
Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng delivered his ruling on Friday, emphasizing that the recording was done without Ntanzi’s consent.
The judge stated that the court must determine whether Ntanzi’s rights, as alleged by the defence, were violated under Section 35(5) of the Constitution.
Mokgoatlheng asserted that an accused person has the right to a fair trial, which is fundamental to the principles of justice, dignity, freedom, and equality enshrined in the Constitution.
He disagreed with the state’s reliance on the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (Rica) in determining the admissibility of the recording.
Mokgoatlheng also disputed the state’s claim that the recording was merely an electronic version of the pro forma statement.
Concluding the ruling, the judge declared that Ntanzi’s rights were indeed violated, and the court could not accept evidence obtained unconstitutionally.
Therefore, the audio recording was ruled inadmissible in the proceedings.