Contradictions by the state’s first witness, sergeant Thabo Mosia, regarding which gun — a Parabellum or revolver — killed footballer Senzo Meyiwa has given defence advocate Dan Teffo a boost in discrediting the state’s case.
In addition to the apparent murder weapon contradictions, it emerged at the high court in Pretoria on Tuesday that forensic officer Mosia did not take a walking stick, which was found in the house in which Meyiwa was killed, for analysis and DNA testing.
Mosia made a key concession towards the end of Tuesday’s sitting, by conceding that a revolver, and not a 9mm Parabellum, could have been used to kill Meyiwa in October 2014.
Meyiwa was shot at the Vosloorus, Gauteng family home of his lover, singer Kelly Khumalo, in what the state alleges was a botched robbery.
Teffo is the legal representative for the first four accused; Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Ncube and Mthokoziseni Maphisa. The fifth accused, Fisokuhle Ntuli, is represented by advocate Zandile Mshololo.
The accused, who all pleaded not guilty to the counts put to them, face charges of premeditated murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, possession of firearms without a licence and the illegal possession of ammunition.
On Tuesday, during the post-lunch session, Teffo asked Mosia whether a cartridge, which is the rear end of a bullet, was found at the crime scene. Mosia responded by saying no cartridge was found.
Teffo then asked: “If there can be someone saying that accused number three [Ncube] came in the kitchen with a firearm, 9mm Parabellum, whereby he shot the deceased; having been the person at the scene, and having agreed there was no cartridge, how would you take that?”
Mosia responded: “The firearm that was used might be a revolver firearm due to the fact that there was no cartridge case at the scene.”
A visibly pleased Teffo retorted: “I agree with you, Mr Mosia.”
Mosia’s concession was a stark contradiction to what the state, through its prosecutor, advocate George Baloyi, had stated on Friday 22 April — that the murder weapon was a 9mm Parabellum, which Baloyi said was found in Ncube’s possession.
Baloyi had also said on Friday that a picture of the alleged Parabellum was found on Ncube’s phone with the caption: “My killing machine.”
Teffo, on Tuesday, also probed Mosia as to why he did not take the walking stick, which the officer said was on the kitchen floor and was evidence that a scuffle had preceded Meyiwa’s shooting.
Mosia said he did not think of it as evidence because he was informed by other officers at the crime scene that the walking stick belonged to one of the five surviving adults in the Khumalo home when Meyiwa was shot.
Teffo informed Mosia that the stick belonged to Tumelo Madlala, Meyiwa’s friend from KwaZulu-Natal, adding: “This walking stick was used to assault the suspect who was inside, by one Zandile Khumalo [Kelly’s sister].”
On this, Mosia again conceded that he should have taken the stick for analysis purposes, saying: “There could be an availability of DNA, my lord.”
It was Mosia’s second full day on the stand, where he was also quizzed on the alleged contamination of the crime scene, because it took about four hours from the estimated time Meyiwa was shot to when Mosia arrived to conduct his forensic work.
But Mosia said the length of time taken could have been because the people who were with Meyiwa might have been more concerned with saving the footballer’s life than calling the police or an ambulance.
“Most people in the house concentrated on saving the victim by taking him to hospital. That’s why I think the time was prolonged,” Mosia testified.
The state alleges that Meyiwa, after being shot, was transported to Botshelong Private Hospital in Vosloorus in his own car, driven by Kelly Khumalo.
The trial will resume on Thursday 28 April, with no hearing set for Wednesday, which is a public holiday.
All the accused are remanded in custody.