Advocate Laurence Hodes – who is representing Julius Malema and Ndlozi Mbuyiseni in their assault trial – came out swinging on Wednesday afternoon.
He kicked off his cross examination of the Presidential Protection Services’ Lieutenant-Colonel Johannes Venter – whom the pair stand accused of roughing up at struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s 2018 burial – with questions around what had happened after the alleged assault.
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Earlier in the day, Venter testified he had been tasked with access control that day and that he had refused Malema’s vehicle entry to the Fourways Memorial Park, where Madikizela-Mandela was being buried, in line with an instruction not to permit anyone other than the family or the President to drive their vehicles in without permission.
Video footage played in court, though, showed that after the ensuing scuffle, the vehicle was eventually allowed through.
Hodes asked Venter if he had ever apologised to Malema.
He replied there was “no need”.
“I did my duties as expected,” he said, before Hodes interrupted him.
“No, you didn’t. If your duty was to prevent them from going in, you should have prevented them. If your duty was to allow them in because they were accredited, then you should have apologised for prohibiting them from going in,” he countered.
“This must be the most ineffective Presidential Protection Service I’ve ever heard of, it’s a joke”.
Hodes also questioned a statement Venter had made, in which he had said he suffered minor injuries to his back – despite there being no medical report to back up his claim.
He had also said: “Emotionally, I was very shocked and embarrassed by what happened as it was in front of the public, Saps members and the military members”.
“You weren’t shocked in that video. You were smiling, you were confident, you were anything but shocked,” Hodes put to Venter.
Venter’s response was that this was how he reacted to shock.
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