Zimbabwean man defies SA High Court judge, demands to be unchained

SOUTH AFRICA – A Zimbabwean national accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend in a fit of rage, argued with a Port Elizabeth High Court judge for more than 30 minutes on Tuesday, demanding that he be unchained.

Port Elizabeth High Court
Port Elizabeth High Court

Trust Tofa’s feet were shackled, chains were draped around his waist, and he was handcuffed.

He demanded that Judge Mandela Makaula order he be unchained so that he could “speak from the heart”.

Robustly addressing Judge Makaula, Tofa also demanded that he be extradited to Zimbabwe.

“It will be better if this matter be transferred to my own country. In my country, they don’t chain me like this.

“I have a lot in my heart I want to tell this court. I can’t express myself being chained like this,” said Tofa.

He made the request to be unchained several times, but Judge Makaula continued to explain that an application would have to be brought before court and Tofa would need to appoint a lawyer.

Judge Makaula asked Tofa several times if he was willing to cooperate and finally instructed him to stand up while addressing the court.

However, Tofa refused, saying: “I can’t stand up if I am chained”.

Tofa, who spoke in Shona, continued to remain seated while addressing Judge Makaula.

In addition, Tofa’s attorney officially withdrew from the case on Tuesday after taking instruction.

“You don’t want to cooperate, I have been patient with you. I have explained for the past 30 minutes whether you decide to have a lawyer or not, you’ve made your bed. I advise that you start cooperating, the matter will proceed with or without you,” said Judge Makaula.

The court was packed with beefed up security from St Albans Correctional Services.

This is not the first time Tofa has displayed disrespect for court proceedings. At his last appearance in September, he refused to appear before court, and then when he eventually did, he demanded that the people sitting in the public gallery be removed.

The state alleges that in November last year, Tofa went to the house of his ex-girlfriend, armed with an iron rod and a knife.

According to the State, Tofa kicked down the door and assaulted his ex-girlfriend while she was asleep. He allegedly slapped and pushed her and then turned to her boyfriend, Godfrey Kumire, and allegedly assaulted him with an iron rod.

The indictment reads that another woman in the house, Phelisa Nana, tried to intervene but Tofa drew a knife and allegedly stabbed her.

According to the State, while Tofa continued to assault Kumire, Nana came back to throw boiling water on Tofa.

In a culmination of events, Tofa allegedly took his ex-girlfriend against her will to a shack in Motherwell, where he raped her twice.

He is facing charges of murder, housebreaking, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, kidnapping and rape.

The case was postponed until November 20 for Tofa to make a decision on legal representation. African News Agency