IN THE DOCK
Two Senzo Meyiwa murder accused allege awful conditions in prison
Monday saw the State call its first witness in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, Sergeant Johannes Thabo Mosia, who testified that he collected and secured crucial evidence at the scene of the crime — the house of singer Kelly Khumalo.
Two of the people charged with the murder of Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa have complained about the conditions of their incarceration.
Five people have been charged with Meyiwa’s murder: Muzikawukhulelwa S’Tembu Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa and Fisokuhle Ntuli.
Apart from the murder charge, they face charges of attempted murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, extortion and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Meyiwa was fatally shot at the home of his singer girlfriend, Kelly Khumalo, in Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni, in October 2014.
On Monday, Mncube and Ntuli told the Pretoria High Court through their legal representatives that they had been beaten by prison officials and kept in solitary confinement.
Advocate Malesela Teffo told the court that Mncube had been assaulted and tortured by prison officials and that medical attention had been recommended.
“He must undergo medical examination and treatment recommended by a medical practitioner,” the prosecutor, George Baloyi, said.
The court heard that no visible injuries were found when Mncube went for an initial medical exam.
Teffo also strongly protested against moving Mncube from the Johannesburg Prison to the Kgosi Mampuru correctional facility.
“What is it at Kgosi Mampuru prison that is not there at the Johannesburg Prison?” he asked.
Prosecutor Baloyi said Mncube had been moved because the Johannesburg Prison was only a transfer facility and the closest suitable prison was Kgosi Mampuru.
“This is not an inquiry, but circumstances have been raised regarding Accused Three [Mncube]. His legal representative says nothing justifies his client’s incarceration in a maximum-security facility,” said Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela. “Undergoing a trial is hard enough — if that comes with assault and torture it can be unbearable.”
Charles Mathebula, the internal security manager at the Kgosi Mampuru prison, said: “Johannesburg Prison is an admission centre. They classify inmates based on the sentence and send them to the relevant prison thereafter.
“It’s a medium-security prison and his sentence requires that he be kept in a maximum-security facility.”
“So it’s not unique to him to be kept in isolation?” Judge Maumela asked Mathebula, who agreed that other prisoners were held in isolation at Kgosi Mampuru.
Judge Maumela advised Teffo to seek legal recourse over the matter if he still felt that his client wasn’t receiving fair treatment.
Advocate Zandile Mshololo, representing Ntuli, told the court that her client was also being incarcerated in isolation.
“Was there a reason for that?” asked Judge Maumela.
“Yes, they said their actions were in line with applicable legislation,” Mshololo responded, adding that Ntuli’s continued solitary confinement deprived him of the rights afforded to other prisoners.
Judge Maumela advised Mshololo to take the same legal route as had been advised for Teffo.
Judge Maumela asked attorney Magdalene Moonsamy, who represented singer Kelly Khumalo, to leave the proceedings, saying she could return after her client’s testimony.
Monday also saw the State call its first witness, Sergeant Johannes Thabo Mosia, who testified that he collected and secured crucial evidence at the scene of the crime — Khumalo’s house — and that he had no reason to suspect the scene had been tampered with.
Mosia told the court that after collecting all the evidence, including swabs with DNA from different surfaces, and bullet fragments, he secured it and personally delivered it to the head of forensics.
Many theories have been formulated on who killed Meyiwa, and a Netflix documentary has further fuelled speculation about the murder.
The case was postponed to Tuesday and the accused were remanded in custody. DM