he man accused of attempting to extort a quarter of a million rand from Oscar Pistorius will remain in prison for another week after his case was postponed at the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria on Monday
Tshifhiwa Rudzhadzi’s newly appointed attorney‚ Mpesi Makhanya‚ asked for a postponement to April 12.
Makhanya said he only learnt on Sunday evening that he was to take over from the previous attorney and he was not ready to proceed with a bail application. He said he needed time to consult with his client and verify certain information vital for the bail application.
Prosecutor Willem van Zyl said Rudzhadzi had had enough time for consultation with his lawyers and accused him of playing cat and mouse with the prosecution.
But Makhanya said it could prejudice his client’s rights to proceed with a bail application on a Schedule 5 matter without proper consultation.
Rudzhadzi faces charges of corruption and extortion.
He was arrested last month for allegedly trying to solicit a bribe of R250 000 from convicted murderer Oscar Pistorius to have his murder conviction quashed. Rudzhadzi allegedly claimed to work for the National Prosecuting Authority.
Due to a previous conviction‚ the charges Rudzhadzi faces now fall under Schedule 5 of the Criminal Procedure Act‚ which places the onus on him to prove exceptional and compelling circumstances why he should be granted bail.
Magistrate Nicca Setshogoe granted the postponement‚ saying that she was duty-bound by the constitution to protect the accused’s right to freedom.