Strange twist in Mandla Mandela assault trial

MTHATHA - In a strange twist at Mandla Mandela&39;s assault trial, one of the State&39;s witnesses mysteriously disappeared from court shortly before taking the stand.
 
This forced the magistrate to postpone proceedings until October.
 
Nelson Mandela&39;s grandson is accused of assaulting a school teacher at a Mthatha carwash in October last year. 
 
Mandela, a member of Parliament, could lose his seat if found guilty.  
 
Inside the Mthatha Regional Court 38-year-old Linda Maliwe took the stand.
 
He was a passenger in Mlamli Ngudle&39;s car on the day of the alleged assault.
 
Saying he&39;s not a friend of Ngudle, he confirmed that the teacher reversed, almost hitting a BMW X5.
 
Maliwe told the court Mandela rushed up to the car, hit Ngudle with an open hand in the face, and took the keys out of the ignition. 
 
Ngudle apparently retaliated, verbally insulting the chief&39;s mother.
 
According to Maliwe, Mandela then fetched a gun from his car and continued the assault.
 
Zomzi Mzilikazi was serving food from this caravan, when she heard a commotion at the nearby car wash. 
 
She says she saw Mandela pulling Ngudle from the car.
 
Maliwe testified that he begged Mandela to stop, saying Mandela should shoot him instead.
 
Following  the incident, Ngudle spent three weeks in hospital after having a blood clot removed from his brain.
 
Inconsistencies in both Ngudle and Maliwe&39;s testimony prompted Magistrate Noluthando Conjwa to ask Maliwe to clarify certain statements.  
 
One point of contention is what happened after the alleged assault.
 
Ngudle says he was too injured to drive, while Maliwe says he couldn&39;t have driven Ngudle&39;s car, as he doesn&39;t have a driver&39;s licence, and he can&39;t even drive.
 
The trial resumes on 15 October.