The lawyer for four of the people accused of killing soccer star Senzo Meyiwa has told the court what the accused people say happened. The accused people say they are not guilty of killing Meyiwa.
Tshepo Thobane told the high court in Pretoria on Tuesday that there had been an attack, a search for an inyanga (a traditional healer), and that people had been offered money to take the blame for the murder and give evidence against other accused people.
Thobane brought up these shocking claims as he finished questioning Meyiwa’s best friend, Tumelo Madlala, who was there the night the Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper was shot in October 2014.
People who were in the Vosloorus house when Meyiwa was killed said it looked like a failed robbery. Meyiwa and a group of other people were at the home of his then-girlfriend, musician Kelly Khumalo.
Five men, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa, and Sifisokuhle Nkani Ntuli, have been charged with murder, attempted murder, robbery with aggravating factors, gun possession without a license, and ammunition possession.
“Police assaulted and took pictures of accused 1,”
Thobane said that, according to Sibiya, when he was arrested at his home, police beat him up and took pictures of him. Sibiya said that he was then joined by two brothers named Buthelezi, who were also accused of killing Meyiwa, even though they were already in jail at the time of the crime.
“He was then taken to a certain place and attacked at the Lethabong municipality offices in Thembisa. After that, he was taken to a police station where he met Brig [Bongani] Gininda, who was in charge of the case. One of the Buthelezi brothers died in the middle of everything,” said Thobane.
He said that he didn’t know any of the other people on trial with him and had never seen them before they showed up in court.
Thobane says that Sibiya was taken to Soweto and then to the Villieria police station in Pretoria after being attacked in Lethabong and meeting Gininda. Sibiya was attacked again. She was taken to Vosloorus and then to Palm Ridge, where police said they were looking for an inyanga.
Thobane said that when the police looked through Sibiya’s phone, they found an inyanga in Palm Ridge who said he had nothing to do with the crime.
“The police told accused 1 that the person they think killed Senzo went to that inyanga after the murder. He told them he didn’t know the inyanga, so they took his phone and searched it. “They went through his phone and found the number of his inyanga,” he told the court.
Thobane also said that an inyanga named Dlamini, who said he knew Sibiya but didn’t know anything about what happened, was taken by the police.
People say that the day after Sibiya was arrested, he was taken to Alberton, where Kelly Khumalo lived, and pictures of him were taken there.
“Accused 2 was in his hometown in KZN to pay lobola,” the police said.
Ntanzi, the second person accused in the case, was caught at his home in Rustenburg, in the North West, near where he worked. Madlala says that he was the second person who broke into the Khumalo house on the night of the shooting. Madlala says that Ntanzi and Meyiwa got into a fight, and that Meyiwa pinned Ntanzi against the wall in the kitchen right before a gunshot killed Meyiwa.
Thobane said that Madlala could point him out because he had seen him in pictures and on TV. Madlala said that if Ntanzi was there at the identity parade, he would point him out.
Thobane says that Ntanzi said he was beaten and tortured to get him to say something, but he didn’t. But Madlala insisted that he knew Ntanzi and said, “He didn’t need to be beaten. I can still find him after 20 years. He was inside the house. Even after 30 years, I can still point him out.
Thobane also said that Ntanzi was offered money to take the blame for the murder, but he turned it down. “He wouldn’t admit that he did it,” he said.
He said that Ntanzi left work on Saturday, October 25, 2014, in the morning and went to KZN to pay lobola for his wife. He said that Ntanzi was in his home town of KZN on the day of the shooting.
“During that time, he was in KZN for a whole week. Even the police took his bank statements to show that he did business in KZN. The bank records are in the hands of the police. But they can’t use them because doing so would ruin the case for the state,” Thobane said.
Thobane also told the witness that Ntanzi’s phone records would show where he was on the day of the alleged crime.
“I say he was in the house, and he knows this too,” Madlala said in response.
“A picture of Meyiwa was shown to Accused 3 and he was told he would be charged,”
Charged 3, Mncube said that when he was arrested in July 2020, he was already in jail for something else. This is where Mncube said an investigating officer came up to him and asked to take his fingerprints and photos.
Thobane said that Mncube was then shown a photo of Meyiwa and told that he would be charged with killing him.
At the time, Mncube was in the Johannesburg prison.
Thobane says that they didn’t do an ID parade when they charged him.
“They took pictures of him, took his clothes off, and looked at his tattoos. It was about 4am, and the head of the prison was not there. At the end of June or the beginning of July, they took his DNA. They didn’t tell him why they were doing all of this.”
Thobane also said that Mncube’s dreadlocks were not short when the shooting happened.
Madlala told the court that the first person who broke in was short and had short dreadlocks.
“I remember that he wore a hat and a caramel-colored jacket. The intruder who came inside the house was carrying a gun. I couldn’t see his face properly,” he said.
Four suspects were taken into custody after a woman asked police to look for them.
Maphisa, the fourth person on the list, was also arrested and charged with killing Meyiwa while he was in prison. He also said that the police had come and taken photos of him.
Thobane said that Maphisa said he was arrested after a correctional services worker told him that someone who said she was his sister had asked them to find him and said he had gold teeth.
Maphisa said that he does not have gold teeth and never has.
Madlala told the court that he had never met Maphisa and did not know him.
The case goes on.