The trial of Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, co-Minister in the Organ for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration facing allegations of addressing an unsanctioned Gukurahundi meeting, failed to kick off as scheduled yesterday after public prosecutors initially failed to locate the case’s docket.
Public prosecutor Blessing Tshabalala only managed to locate the docket in the afternoon, forcing the case to be postponed to April 24.
Mzila-Ndlovu (58) is being charged with making false statements that are deemed prejudicial to the State at a meeting organised by Roman Catholic priest, Father Marko Mabutho Mnkandla, to commemorate victims of the Gukurahundi.
The missing docket saga came to light when Mzila-Ndlovu’s lawyer Cynthia Ncube, standing in for Matshobana Ncube, had made an application for the minister to be placed off remand arguing the trial had delayed by about a year.
But Tshabalala argued removing the minister from remand would further delay the trial since the Attorney-General (AG)’s Office had given the green light for prosecution of the case.
This prompted Hwange resident magistrate Peter Tomupeyi Madiba to challenge Tshabalala to provide proof of the AG’s authority.
The court immediately adjourned to the afternoon, leaving the minister sitting in the court corridors for the better part of the day.
Late in the afternoon Tshabalala came back to court armed with the docket that had initially been reported missing and a copy of the AG’s Office authorising letter giving the green light for the State counsel to proceed with the matter.
Mzila’s lawyer then consented to the application.