/ 18 April 2024

Meyiwa trial: More delays, chaos as the defence discredits state expert’s evidence

Copy Of Ed 459609 2 Min
The five men accused of the murder of Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa appear in the Pretoria High Court. Photo: Phill Magakoe/Gallo Images

Defence advocate Charles Mnisi poked holes in state witness Lieutenant Colonel Gideon Gouws’s testimony relating to the cellphone evidence allegedly linking some of the five men accused of murdering Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa in 2014. 

At the Pretoria high court on Thursday, Mnisi sought to debunk Gouws’s testimony and prove the accused’s claims that they did not know each other before their arrests in 2020. 

The witness is a data and cellphone analyst. 

Bongani Ntanzi, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Mthobisi Mncube, Mthokozisi Maphisa and Fisokuhle Ntuli have pleaded not guilty to charges of premeditated murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, illegal possession of a firearm and the illegal possession of ammunition.

Meyiwa was killed at his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo’s Vosloorus, Gauteng, family home on 26 October 2014, in what the state initially claimed was a botched house robbery.

Under cross-examination by Mnisi, Gouws denied having said that cellphone evidence connected all the accused, adding: “I did not find any linkages between accused one and accused three.”

But Mnisi said during his testimony on Wednesday, led by state prosecutor George Baloyi, Gouws had stated that Ntanzi’s phone records showed “communication between all the accused”.

“And now you just told the court that you could not find the linkage between accused one and three. So how can you tell the court there was communication between all? How do you reconcile that statement?” the defence advocate asked.

A heated argument between Gouws and Mnisi ensued, with the police’s data analyst saying only the fifth accused, Ntuli’s, had phone communicated with his co-accused, not Ntanzi’s. 

But Mnisi was adamant that Gouws had testified that all the accused were linked, eventually requesting that Wednesday’s court recording be played to conclude the debate. The recording could however not be played because of an issue with the court’s equipment.

Judge Ratha Mokgoathleng asked Mnisi to pause his cross-examination on that aspect until the problem had been sorted out.

Defence advocate Zithulele Nxumalo requested a short adjournment because he was not ready to cross-examine, alleging that the state had not provided him with the evidence he needed to consult with his client.

Baloyi, however, told the court that he had furnished all the defence lawyers with the phone records stored on a disc and then a memory stick because Nxumalo said his device could not read the disc.

In response, Nxumalo said the information he had received did not relate to what he wanted.

The trial continues on Friday.