/ 8 September 2022

Senzo Meyiwa trial: State witnesses contradict each other during testimony

Senzo Meyiwa Funeral Service Held In Durban
Investigating officer Brigadier Bongani Gininda has denied that he offered R3 million to accused two, Bongani Ntanzi, to implicate the "right people" in the murder of football star Senzo Meyiwa. (Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Major disparities emerged in the state’s case after Sergeant Mlungisi Mthethwa, the second witness, contradicted forensic officer Sergeant Thabo Mosia’s preceding testimony, including the time that the latter arrived at the scene of Senzo Meyiwa’s murder

According to Mthethwa’s testimony, he was one of the first police officers at the scene as far as he was concerned. Moreover, he contradicted Mosia, saying the forensic officer was guided at the crime scene by a detective Captain Zwane, and not the late Brigadier Philani Ndlovu as Mosia had testified on 26 April.

Mthethwa was on the stand in the Pretoria high court on Thursday, the day after Mosia concluded his own testimony.

Ndlovu was Gauteng’s head of detectives at the time of Meyiwa’s October 2014 murder at the Vosloorus, Gauteng, home of his then girlfriend, singer Kelly Khumalo, in what the state alleges was a robbery gone wrong. 

In April, Mosia testified that he arrived at the crime scene after midnight, following a call he had received from Ndlovu at around 11:45pm on the night of the incident, and that Ndlovu welcomed Mosia and briefed him about the crime. 

But on Thursday, Mthethwa — who referred to the date and time stamp of his affidavit deposed on 26 October 2014 and commissioned at 10pm — said he wrote and commissioned his statement after the arrival of Mosia. 

“He [Mosia] was then busy speaking to Captain Zwane because Captain Zwane was from the detectives unit and we had already shown him [Zwane] the scene,” Mthethwa testified.

Mosia had repeatedly testified that he had called the “crime scene management task team”, and that he only met the task team at daybreak on 27 October when he returned to the scene for a second time. 

Responding to cross examination questions from TT Thobane, attorney for the trial’s first four accused, Mthethwa gave a different version of events, saying the task team arrived while Mosia was still at the scene. 

Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Ncube and Mthokoziseni Maphisa – the trial’s first four accused – are Thobane’s clients, while the fifth accused, Fisokuhle Ntuli, is represented by advocate Zandile Mshololo.

Mthethwa added that the task team asked him and his colleague Mathebula to excuse them from the crime scene “because it was a high-profile matter”, which would be handled by the provincial officers. Mosia remained at the scene with the task team, Mthethwa testified.

Mthethwa also gave credence to Mshololo’s assertions that the crime scene was tampered with, by saying that the Khumalo home did not resemble a place where a shooting or crime had taken place. 

“From what we could see from inside the house, one couldn’t see if something had happened there. If I’m not mistaken, there were two alcohol cans on the [living room] floor,” Mthethwa said. 

He added that a man called Themba, who said he was Kelly Khumalo’s maternal uncle, was the only person at the house when Mthethwa and Mathebula arrived, and that the uncle opened the kitchen door for the officers. 

State advocate George Baloyi confirmed to Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela that the prosecution would call to the stand Themba Khumalo, the brother of Kelly’s mother Gladness Khumalo.

On what Themba told the officers upon their arrival at the scene, Mthethwa said Themba was also unaware of what exactly had happened, but told the officers that the person shot had been taken to Botshelong hospital in Vosloorus. 

Mthethwa will continue his cross examination on Friday. 

The five accused — who face charges of premeditated murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, illegal possession of a firearm and the illegal possession of ammunition, to which they have pleaded not guilty — are remanded in custody.