Local Politics

Senzo Meyiwa trial: Confessions, forensics key part of state’s case

Alleged confessions and forensic data, including evidence that the bullet that killed Senzo Meyiwa was allegedly from a gun found in accused number three Mthobisi Ncube’s possession, will form part of the state’s case into the footballer’s murder. 

On Friday, prosecutor George Baloyi outlined the state’s draft order of evidence presentation to the Pretoria high court, saying there would be a “trial within a trial” for the admissibility of confessions made by the first two accused, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya and Bongani Ntanzi. 

Sibiya, Ntanzi,  Ncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa and Fisokuhle Ntuli each face five counts of premeditated murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, possession of firearms without a licence and the illegal possession of ammunition. 

The charges relate to the October 2014 killing of the Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana captain, who was gunned at the Vosloorus, Gauteng, home of his lover, singer Kelly Khumalo’s mother, Gladness Khumalo. 

The accused asserted their innocence on Friday after Baloyi had read the charges from the state’s indictment against the accused, with only Ntuli, through his lawyer, Zandile Mshololo, saying he would not submit a plea explanation. 

“My client, accused five [Ntuli], will give no plea explanation and will exercise his constitutional right to remain silent, and allow the state to make its case,” Mshololo told the court. 

Baloyi then rose to say police investigators had found a spent bullet in the Khumalo household’s kitchen, where the state said Meyiwa was shot, before collapsing in the living room. 

The prosecutor added that the ballistics testing on the spent bullet, which the state said killed Meyiwa during an alleged botched robbery, matched “the firearm that was found on accused number three [Ncube] in the room that he occupied with his girlfriend”.

Ncube lived with his girlfriend in Malvern, Johannesburg, on the outskirts of the inner city, Baloyi said, adding that a ballistics expert will explain how the bullet was matched to the gun found in Ncube’s possession. 

The state, according to Baloyi, also seized Ncube’s cellphone and downloaded data from it. Baloyi said investigators found a picture of the alleged murder weapon, a 9mm Parabellum, which Ncube had allegedly captioned: “My killing machine.” 

Baloyi confirmed that the six adults who were in the house with Meyiwa when he was shot would be called to testify. 

This included singer Khumalo; her mother; her sister Zandile Khumalo; Zandile’s former boyfriend, Longwe Twala, who is the son of renowned music producer, Sello “Chicco” Twala; as well as two of Meyiwa’s friends. 

Cellphone data retrieved from the Samsung S4 that was allegedly stolen from Khumalo during the October 2014 incident would also trace the movements of the accused to the Vosloorus hostel, which is near the Khumalo home, and supposedly show how the crimes were planned by the accused, Baloyi said. 

The prosecutor said the state would call its first witness on Monday, 25 April. 

Advocate Dan Teffo, who represents Sibiya, Ntanzi, Ncube and Maphisa, objected to the “trial within the trial” for the admissibility of the alleged confessions, happening later in the trial, saying it was conventional that these trials within trials usually occurred at the start of proceedings. 

But Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela said the prosecutor was the main litigant and could go about his case how he saw fit. 

“You’re not the prosecutor. You have no right to tell the prosecutor what to do,” a visibly frustrated Maumela said.  

Meanwhile, Maumela directed Baloyi to liaise with correctional services authorities regarding the alleged torture of Ncube by prison officials. 

This followed claims by Teffo that Ncube had been assaulted by a prison official on 12 April after the previous sitting of the trial. Teffo said Ncube had repeatedly been “tortured” by prison guards. 

Maumela said: “The abuse and ill-treatment of inmates for whatever reasons is frowned upon by the courts.” 

The judge postponed the trial to 25 April, when the first witness is expected to be called. The accused will remain in custody.

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