/ 12 February 2024

Meyiwa Trial: State says accused fabricated testimony

Senzo Meyiwa Murder Trial Resumes With New Judge In Pretoria
In court: Two accused in the Senzo Meyiwa trial, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya and Bongani Ntanzi. Photo: Phill Magakoe/Gallo Images

State prosecutor Ronnie Sibanda said  Bongani Ntanzi, the second accused in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, was fabricating his story and tailoring his evidence after his version differed from the one his lawyer presented in court.

Ntanzi returned to the stand on Monday as the defence’s second witness in the “trial within a trial” to determine whether confessions made by him and accused number one, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, were admissible.

Sibiya and Ntanzi are among five men accused of killing the footballer at the home of his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo on 26 October 2014 in Vosloorus, Gauteng. The other accused are Mthobisi Ncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa and Fisokuhle Ntuli.

After highlighting numerous supposed inconsistencies in his evidence, Sibanda put it to Ntanzi that he was making up stories and fabricating the evidence about being tortured at a dump site near a garage.

Defence advocate Thulani Mngomezulu, representing Ntanzi and Sibiya, previously told the court that it was at an open field next to the garage that Ntanzi was first allegedly assaulted by a group of police officers, before being taken to an area with a dump site, as well as another area with steel poles and stairs where the torture, tubing [suffocation with a non-porous material] and choking allegedly continued.

Mngomezulu also stated that Ntanzi was allegedly tortured on 19 June 2020, but the accused testified that the assault was a day prior to this.

“It was initially put to you that [what] you are telling the court [about being assaulted] happened on the 19th of June before being taken to Colonel [Mohale] Raphadu,” Sibanda said, asking whether Ntanzi was rejecting his lawyer’s claims.

Ntanzi replied: “I am denying what the state is saying. I was assaulted on the 18th at night. I am not in agreement with what the state is saying and I will not be able to speak for Mngomezulu.”

“So, in short, that was not your version? Mngomezulu said you were assaulted on 18 and 19?” Sibanda asked.

Ntanzi said: ”I do not remember. I am a person, I also forget.”

“So you are a human being you also forget? You could have also forgotten about your rights as you are a person. You are contradicting yourself,” Sibanda charged, arguing that Ntanzi lied about lead investigator Brigadier Bongani Gininda not reading the accused his rights following his arrest.

“And it was at that stage that he [Gininda] warned you of your rights based on the Constitution. Gininda told this court that when he spoke to you, you made admissions,” Sibanda said, stressing that Ntanzi confessed to Gininda about killing Meyiwa.

Ntanzi replied: “That is not true, my lord. I was never warned [of my rights]. That is a big mistake, my lord. I would not have been assaulted if we had civil communication.”

Detailing the events of the day of his arrest, Ntanzi said he was assaulted before he was taken to the Pretoria North police station, where he was questioned further.

Last year, the defence argued that police did not provide a docket for Ntanzi’s arrest, or read him his rights and he had been arrested under the wrong case number with the wrong information.

On Monday, Ntanzi said he was transported to the station in a white Toyota Fortuner, and that when they arrived Sergeant Vusimuzi Mogane went into the station, leaving the accused with Sergeant Steven Mabena in the vehicle.

Later, Mogane came back and instructed Ntanzi and Mabena to follow him into the station. From there, he was led into a boardroom, where he was questioned.

“Gininda, Sergeant [Bathobakae Mogola], Mogane and Mabena were present during the questioning”, Ntanzi testified.

All of the accused in the trial have pleaded not guilty to charges of premeditated murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, illegal possession of a firearm and the illegal possession of ammunition.