/ 11 September 2023

Meyiwa trial: Judge rejects claim of second statement from police witness

Senzo Meyiwa
Former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The judge in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, Ratha Mokgoatlheng, on Monday dismissed the defence’s claim of the existence of a handwritten statement by state witness Constable Sizwe Zungu.

This was after defence lawyers had challenged the admissibility of a typed statement Zungu made on 31 May. Mokgoatlheng last Friday asked the defence to prepare an argument on the legality and lawfulness of additions to Zungu’s statement. 

Zungu took the stand last Thursday.

Footballer Meyiwa was killed in October 2014 at the home of his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo in Vosloorus, Gauteng, in what the state says was a botched robbery.

During his argument, defence advocate Charles Mnisi said Zungu had “mentioned unequivocally that there is a statement that he wrote and he initialled it”.

“He says he wrote it, it was commissioned and he initialled every page. That is when I asked that it should be made available,” Mnisi said.

Zungu told the court that he had gone to KwaZulu-Natal this past weekend in search of his notes from which he had prepared his typed statement.

But Mnisi said the defence was not requesting the notes, rather the actual handwritten statement that he had previously alluded to writing, not the typed one.

“We listened to the records and it was confirmed. I am going to ask the court to consider what Zungu said. We are not requesting notes. The witness says he wrote a statement,” Mnisi told the court, adding that he was not accusing the state of unlawfully withholding the original statement.

Defence advocate Zandile Mshololo said her client, accused number five Fisokuhle Ntuli, would be prejudiced by the non-disclosure of this statement.

“That handwritten statement ought to have been accompanied by the original statement to which the witness has referred. We all know the statement should have been attached,” Mshololo said. She insisted that the court listen to the records and said the existence of the typed statement was only disclosed last week.

The judge responded: “I hear you.”

Mokgoatlheng pointed out to Zungu what the defence was arguing. In response, Zungu said the notes he made may have been on a newspaper or a till slip. He added that apart from the typed statement he had given on 31 May this year, he had made no other one.

State prosecutor George Baloyi argued that the notes by Zungu should not be subjected to disclosure and that Zungu be cross-examined based on his typed statement. 

Mokgoatlheng ruled on the defence’s contention that there was a handwritten statement by Zungu, saying: “The defence cannot prove the existence of this statement. This court finds that no such written statement exists.”

“Mr Baloyi is accused of harbouring a statement which he has not disclosed, which is a serious offence and he could be struck off the roll. Every prosecutor knows he has to disclose any information pertaining to the case and I do not think that Mr Baloyi would risk his entire career. I do not know what he would gain,” he added.

The judge said it was not Baloyi’s duty to defend anyone, but rather to bring the case before the court to adjudicate. 

“It is a truism and trite in the law that a prosecutor’s duty is to seek conviction at all costs,” he said.