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Senzo Meyiwa murder: How the 5 accused ended up in the...

DM168

IN THE DOCK

Senzo Meyiwa murder: Meet the 5 men on trial, and the lawyer who demands to know why Kelly Khumalo isn’t there too

Five men – Mthobisi Mncube, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthokoziseni Maphisa and Sifisokuhle Ntuli Ntuli – charged with the murder of Senzo Meyiwa, appear in the Pretoria High Court on 13 June 2022. (Photo: Alet Pretorius)

According to an affidavit from Colonel Bongani Gininda, the lead investigator in the case, the murder was a contract killing and not a robbery that went wrong.

It’s been almost a month since the trial of five men for the murder of football star Senzo Meyiwa began. Meyiwa was fatally shot eight years ago in what was claimed to have been a botched robbery at his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo’s mother’s home in Vosloorus. 

The court has heard from State witness Thabo Mosia, a forensic investigator, that he arrived at the crime scene almost four hours after the murder happened, he didn’t take DNA samples from the handle of the door opened by the alleged robbers to access the house and he didn’t test the people in the house for gunshot residue.  

A statement was read out during Mosia’s cross-examination wherein a witness claimed that a woman called Maggie Phiri had cleaned the house before the police arrived.  

Last week, the matter was postponed to July to give advocate Dan Teffo, representing accused one to four, time to launch an application at the Pretoria High Court and to allow advocate Zandile Mshololo, representing accused number five, further time to study a second docket, of which she only received a copy on Wednesday, 8 June.

Read more: “Senzo Meyiwa murder: Is this a case of police incompetence? Experts weigh in

Five men are accused of murder, attempted murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, extortion and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. They have all pleaded not guilty.

According to an affidavit from Colonel Bongani Gininda, the lead investigator in the case, the murder was a contract killing and not a robbery that went wrong. 

News24 reported that the affidavit did not say who ordered the hit on Meyiwa. Gininda wrote: “Evidence under oath revealed that five suspects actively participated in the planning and execution of the contractual murder of Senzo Meyiwa.” 

Who was Senzo Meyiwa?

Meyiwa started playing for Orland0 Pirates in 2005. By 2014 he had joined Brian Baloyi and Moeneeb Josephs as the only goalkeepers who captained Bafana Bafana on four occasions without conceding a goal during their captaincies. 

At the time of his death, Meyiwa was still married to Mandisa Meyiwa. In 2013, it was reported that Mandisa Meyiwa had opened a case of assault against her husband’s girlfriend, Kelly Khumalo, and her sister, Zandile. The following year the charges were dropped.

Read more: “Senzo Meyiwa murder trial: Mystery of the DNA in the hat

At a conference after Meyiwa’s death, midfielder Dean Furman told the BBC that Meyiwa was “just the nicest guy you could wish to meet”.

Meyiwa had a child with Mandisa and a child with Khumalo.

According to the charge sheet, on the day of the murder, two armed people entered Khumalo’s Vosloorus house demanding valuables. Only one phone was stolen. Meyiwa was allegedly shot while trying to protect Kelly Khumalo. 

THE ACCUSED 

Accused number one: Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya

Sibiya (36) was arrested in Tembisa in Gauteng. 

Four days before the Meyiwa trial began, he was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment in an unrelated matter. The Vosloorus Magistrates’ Court also declared him unfit to own a firearm. 

Sibiya was convicted for the attempted murders of Ntombenhle Ndaba and Mfanelo Mbatha. In a statement by the National Prosecuting Authority, Sibiya was also accused of shooting his girlfriend in December 2014 after she threatened to blow the whistle on him for his alleged involvement in Meyiwa’s murder, which he had allegedly informed her of. 

In court, Sibiya often wears a hoodie and seems distant toward his co-accused. While the other four accused often have animated discussions during adjournments, Sibiya usually sits a metre away from them. 

Accused number two: Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi

Ntanzi (31) was arrested at his place of employment, Sibanye Gold in North West. 

Gininda’s affidavit said that in 2020 Ntanzi made two confessions, one to the police and the other to a magistrate.

“This suspect made a confession to a commissioned officer on the 19th of June 2020 and later made a further confession in the presence of his attorney to a magistrate at the Boksburg Magistrates’ Court on the 24th of June 2020.   

“The involvement of this accused was equally explained in detail in the confession by [Ntanzi]. It was established that the suspect was a sentenced prisoner, serving 35 years’ imprisonment for a murder committed in 2014. Ballistic tests revealed that the same firearm used in the murder for which the accused was serving his sentence were [sic] used in the murder of Senzo Meyiwa,” reads the affidavit.

Accused number three: Mthobisi Prince Mncube

When the five men appeared before the Boksburg Magistrates’ Court in 2020, 38-year-old Mncube wore a white T-shirt on which was written: “I want justice to be done. I’m not a killer of Senzo Meyiwa.”

However, Gininda’s affidavit showed photos found on Mncube’s phone where he was wearing the same clothes identified by witnesses on the day Meyiwa was murdered. 

Accused number four: Mthokoziseni Maphisa

In the Pretoria High Court, 37-year-old Maphisa often looked upbeat and stylish – in one of his court appearances he wore a dark blue tracksuit with a silver necklace. 

His sister appeared in the Netflix documentary Senzo: Murder of a Soccer Star. In it, Sinqobile Maphisa says she is not convinced her brother had anything to do with Meyiwa’s death. 

senzo meyiwa Mshololo docket
Advocate Zandile Mshololo during the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial in Pretoria. (Photo: Alet Pretorius)

“He said I can talk and say whatever that needs to be said out there because he is 100% sure that he’s got nothing to do with Senzo’s death,” said Sinqobile Maphisa. 

Accused number five: Sifisokuhle Ntuli

According to Gininda’s affidavit, Ntuli drove the getaway car from the Vosloorus Hostel, where the murder was planned, to the crime scene. 

“His role was to remain and guard the getaway car during the commissioning of this offence. The confession of ‘Mafika’ in so far as the usage of the vehicle refers to is supported by independent witnesses confirming that this accused was seen driving the said vehicle before and after the committal of the murder in the company of the referred suspects above,” read the affidavit.  

This isn’t the first time Ntuli has appeared before the court. In January, Ntuli was sentenced to six life sentences and 39 years in an unrelated matter. 

Ntuli was convicted of killing ANC councillor Thami Nyembe in KwaNongoma, KwaZulu-Natal, in 2016. He shot and killed Nyembe, who was driving with his wife; she was severely wounded. 

Ntuli was also convicted for other crimes including murder, attempted murder, and unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.

On Wednesday, Teffo’s instructing attorney, Timothy Thobane, mentioned that Ntuli had been sentenced for murder, to which Judge Maumela interjected: “The court isn’t supposed to know about negative or criminal activities of people before the court. The legislation did so to avoid undue influence.” 

Accused number six?

Last week Mshololo received a letter from the Director of Public Prosecutions in Johannesburg regarding Exhibit C.  

Exhibit C refers to an unsigned indictment that implicates the people who were with Meyiwa when he was murdered. Those people are Kelly Khumalo, Gladness Khumalo, Zandile Khumalo, Longwe Twala, Tumelo Madlala, Mthokozisi Thwala and Maggie Phiri.  

The letter said the unsigned indictment was an “internal opinion by a junior State advocate which was without merit”.

However, last Tuesday, Teffo told the court that there had been a warrant of arrest for Kelly Khumalo when the five accused were arrested in 2020.

“What made [State advocate George] Baloyi hold back on arresting Kelly Khumalo? Kelly Khumalo has been deeply implicated,” Teffo told the court.  

Teffo demanded a certificate from the Director of Public Prosecutions in Johannesburg to detail the reasons that Khumalo was not in the dock alongside the five accused.

A few weeks ago, Teffo told the court that a witness would testify that Khumalo accidentally shot Meyiwa with a gun that Twala brought.

Over the years, there have been allegations that Twala, who is the son of musician Sello “Chicco” Twala, shot Meyiwa with a gun belonging to his father. In a radio interview in 2018, Sello Twala denied his gun was used to murder Meyiwa.

Sello Twala said that the police had asked for his gun after the allegations surfaced. “They took my firearm and about four weeks later they said my gun is not the one.”  

Teffo claimed that after Meyiwa was killed, a meeting was held between the people in the house and high-ranking police officers, as well as former Gauteng community safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane. 

In the gallery

Last Tuesday, about a dozen Department of Correctional Services officials and about a dozen people who were either law students or attorneys attended the trial.

“Most people are here to observe because it’s topical, but it’s also a good learning experience for law students to see what happens during a criminal trial,” said an attorney, who declined to give her name. DM168

Court proceedings resume on  12 July.

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R25.

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