/ 20 November 2023

Meyiwa trial: Accused was on the verge of confessing, says state witness

Senzo Meyiwa Murder Trial Resumes With New Judge In South Africa
Five accused men in the Senzo Mayiwa murder trial stand in the dock at Pretoria High Court on July 17, 2023 in Pretoria. (Photo by Phill Magakoe/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

Police officer Batho Mogola, the latest state witness in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, said on Monday accused number one, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, in 2020, came close to confessing to his involvement in the Bafana Bafana captain’s 2014 murder before she stopped him and read him his rights.

Mogola told the Pretoria high court that she had served the South African Police Service for about 18 years as a sergeant and was attached to the Cold Case investigation unit under Brigadier Bongani Gininda.

She said Sibiya had complained that, during his arrest, a Constable Sadiki  — whose first name was not revealed in court — and Constable Jabulani Buthelezi had made him lie down. She said the suspect was anxious not to get the expensive pair of trousers he was wearing dirty, and did not want to be taken to jail in the pants because he feared other inmates would take them from him.

During his own testimony earlier this month, Buthelezi had told the court that he and Sadiki used authoritative language, or a “tactical takedown”, in their interaction with Sibiya to confuse him during his arrest. 

Buthelezi said Sibiya did not show resistance when asked to lie down and that the officers had agreed to his request to be taken home to change. But Sibiya’s lawyer, advocate Thulani Mngomezulu, said his client had told him that he was made to change his trousers because he had been assaulted and tortured until he “messed” himself. Buthelezi denied this.

On Monday, Mogola said on arrival at Sibiya’s place of residence to change his pants and look for his identity document, the officers found nine rounds of live ammunition, a magazine, as well as the cleaning rod, all of which were in a black plastic bag.

“I asked him who the things belonged to and he confirmed they were his. I then asked him about the gun because, with the magazine and a cleaning rod, I could tell there was a gun involved. He then said the gun was at his friend’s place at the Vusumuzi hostel,” Mogola said.

She had asked Buthelezi and Sadiki to give her and Sibiya a moment alone, during which she read the suspect his rights and told him that she was going to question him about other cases.

“I then asked him if he was involved in the murder of Senzo Meyiwa. When he responded to the question, I could see that he was making admissions. I reminded him of his constitutional rights,” Mogola said. 

She had asked Sibiya about other cases, not related to the Meyiwa murder, and asked him if he was comfortable communicating what he was telling her to her boss, Gininda. Sibiya responded that he did not have a problem with that. 

Mogola said Gininda suggested that they meet at the Vosloorus police station because he wanted to question Sibiya himself.

“We then drove to the Vosloorus police station,” she told the court.

Sibiya is among the five men accused over Meyiwa’s murder at the home of his girlfriend, Kelly Khumalo, in Vosloorus, Gauteng. All have pleaded not guilty to charges of premeditated murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, illegal possession of a firearm and the illegal possession of ammunition.