Pretoria: The Department of Justice and Correctional Services says it will study and respond to the petition from a group calling itself “Justice for Anni” from London.
In the petition, the group is seeking Minister Michael Masutha’s intervention in the trial of British businessman Shrien Dewani, which is underway in the Western Cape High Court.
They are asking for the Minister to review the manner in which Judge Traverso is conducting the trial and seek her removal from the case because of her “biased conduct”.
According to Minister Masutha’s spokesperson, Mthunzi Mhaga, the Minister will study the comprehensive petition and respond accordingly.
“However, we need to indicate that the matter is before a court of law and subject to judicial determination by the said presiding judge and it would be inappropriate for the Minister to comment on the case. The Minister also respects the independence of the judiciary as enshrined in our Constitution,” Mhaga said on Thursday.
Dewani has been on trial since October for allegedly plotting with Zola Tongo and others to kill his wife Anni while they were on honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010.
He has pleaded not guilty to charges including kidnapping, murder and defeating the ends of justice.
He claims the couple was hijacked while Tongo drove them through Gugulethu in his minibus.
Dewani was released unharmed and Anni was driven away. She was found shot dead in the abandoned minibus in Khayelitsha the next morning.
The State alleges Dewani conspired with others to stage the hijacking, for which he paid R15 000; however, Dewani maintains that Tongo helped him organise a surprise helicopter trip for Anni for R15 000.
Tongo is serving an 18-year jail term and Mziwamadoda Qwabe a 25-year jail term. Xolile Mngeni was serving life in jail for firing the shot that killed Anni, but died in prison from a brain tumour on October 18.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS