/ 15 November 2023

Meyiwa trial: State witness contradicts own testimony

Big send-off: KwaZulu-Natal blew R3-million on the official funeral for Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa
Senzo Meyiwa was shot dead in October 2014, while he was at a party at the home of his then girlfriend, Kelly Khumalo, in Vosloorus at the East Rand.

Police officer Vusimuzi Mogane on Wednesday contradicted his earlier testimony in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial when he spoke about making stops while driving with a suspect in 2020 because the car had mechanical problems.

Mogane had told the Pretoria high court the previous day that the vehicle had been recently serviced.

Mogane has been giving evidence, with the aid of automatic vehicle location (AVL) recordings, on the routes that were taken and stops made while transporting accused number two, Bongani Ntanzi, from the Pretoria North police station to the Moroka police station to make a confession, and then on to his residence in Rustenburg.

During cross-examination on Wednesday, defence advocate Thulani Mngomezulu, representing Ntanzi, noted that the AVL information showed that the ignition was off while the vehicle was at the Protea Industrial Park along the N12 in Johannesburg.

Mogane responded that he was checking the tyres. Mngomezulu pressed the police officer further on the frequent stops indicated on the AVL report and Mogane said this was because there were problems with the car.

This was contrary to Mogane’s testimony on Tuesday when, after being quizzed by Mngomezulu about speed violations indicated on the report, he said this was because the car had just been serviced, and was in good condition, which made it easy to drive fast.

Mngomezulu asked why the car had stopped for 22 minutes at one point.

Mogane responded: “I went into a petrol station to check my tyres. As we passed the Glen Mall, I felt that the motor vehicle was not balanced.

“I proceeded and, when I joined the N3, I felt there was a smell of smoke and the vehicle was losing its power. I forced the vehicle to proceed and that is when I contacted [fellow officer Bongani] Gininda and went into the filling station.”

Referring to the AVL report, Mngomezulu said it showed that while driving on the N3, Mogane had taken an off-ramp at Grey Avenue near a garage. He said Ntanzi’s version of events was that he had been assaulted in an open area next to a garage during that drive.

“What you are telling me is consistent with what accused number two said — he said there was a garage or petrol station where he was assaulted close to the road,” Mngomezulu said.

In response, Mogane said that when he arrived at the garage, he had realised that the car had more problems.

“When I opened the bonnet, I saw that the oil was low. As I had oil at all times, I filled up the engine with oil and ignited the vehicle again and I tried driving the vehicle again. The wheels were stiff. That is where you see I switched it off for a while to cool off.  The streets you are referring to are around the garage,” he said.

He further told the court that an independent mechanic had been called: “The mechanic said there is air that needs to be removed from the brakes. As you see the vehicle idling for some time, it was when we were trying to move the car around to see if it could proceed.”

Mngomezulu reminded Mogane about his earlier testimony that the car had been recently serviced.

“From Pretoria to Carletonville you never encountered any problems and the condition aggravated when you approached the N3?” the defence lawyer asked.

“A vehicle is like a human being, it has its own illnesses,” Mogane responded.

Ntanzi is one of five men accused of killing the Bafana Bafana captain at the home of his girlfriend, singer Kelly Khumalo, in Vosloorus, Gauteng on 26 October 2014. 

They have all pleaded not guilty to charges of premeditated murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, illegal possession of a firearm and the illegal possession of ammunition.