/ 6 September 2022

Senzo Meyiwa trial: ‘Contradictions’ in state’s first witness’s testimony exposed

Senzo Meyiwa Funeral Service Held In Durban
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - NOVEMBER 01: Senzo Meyiwa's coffin arrives during the funeral service of the late Senzo Meyiwa (South African and Orlando Pirates captain) at Moses Mabhida Stadium on November 01, 2014 in Durban, South Africa. Senzo Meyiwa was shot dead in Vosloorus on the East Rand last Sunday, October 26, 2014. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The words of the late Brigadier Philani Ndlovu, Gauteng’s former detectives head, were brought to life at the Senzo Meyiwa trial to contradict testimony tended by Sergeant Thabo Mosia, a forensic officer and the state’s first witness. 

Advocate Zandile Mshololo, the legal representative for the fifth accused, Fisokuhle Ntuli, successfully applied for the provisional acceptance into the court record of Ndlovu’s statement deposed in July 2019. The statement was contained in the second of two case dockets opened for Meyiwa’s October 2014 murder. 

The first docket was opened in October 2014 and the second in January 2019, in what Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela called “an unprecedented situation”. 

In the Pretoria high court on Tuesday, Mshololo read out Ndlovu’s affidavit, which contradicted Mosia’s testimony that Ndlovu, after calling Mosia to assign him to the Vosloorus location of Meyiwa’s fatal shooting, did not furnish the forensic officer with the crime scene’s address, and that he had to find it on his own. 

Meyiwa was killed at the family home of his then girlfriend, singer Kelly Khumalo, in what the state alleges was a botched robbery. 

During her application to use Ndlovu’s statement against Mosia, Mshololo told the court that the defence would utilise the document to “test the credibility” of Mosia and the testimony the forensic officer had given since the start of the trial in April.

In June, Mosia testified that Ndlovu had told him to go to Botshelong hospital in Vosloorus, where Meyiwa was certified dead, in order to get the crime scene address. 

After eventually arriving at the crime scene, Mosia said he was “directed” by Ndlovu as to what evidence he should collect and look out for. He conceded in his testimony that he did not know whether the direction he allegedly received from Ndlovu was correct or not. 

“I wouldn’t know [if Ndlovu was giving me the correct information], my lord. In fact, I was not supposed to start that crime scene. I was supposed to call the crime scene management team before starting the case,” Mosia testified.

On Tuesday, Maumela, following fierce opposition from state advocate George Baloyi, granted Mshololo permission to put “hearsay evidence” to Mosia; so deemed because Ndlovu was not alive to verify the contents of his deposed statement. 

Maumela said it was “in the interest of justice” for Ndlovu’s statement to be provisionally accepted as evidence, and be used to cross-examine Mosia. 

Reading from Ndlovu’s July 2019 affidavit, Mshololo showed how the late officer had stated that he supplied Mosia with the Khumalo family home address to Mosia when the forensic office was assigned to the scene.  

“I did not point any scene or exhibits to him [Mosia] as I was not in charge of the crime scene. I did not tell him to go to the hospital,” the statement reads.

“When you were testifying in this court, you said Brigadier Ndlovu did not give you the address of the crime scene in your evidence in chief,” Mshololo reminded Mosia, who said he was “surprised” by the apparent contradiction between his and Ndlovu’s version of events. 

Ntuli, as well as Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Ncube and Mthokoziseni Maphisa — who are represented by attorney TT Thobane — face charges of premeditated murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, illegal possession of a firearm and the illegal possession of ammunition in connection with the footballer’s murder. 

All five have pleaded not guilty. The trial is expected to continue on Wednesday with Mosia still under cross-examination.