State accused of withholding key evidence in Meyiwa trial

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The defence in the Senzo Meyiwa trial has accused the state of deliberately omitting information that could add credence to the accused’s version of torture leading up to the confession statements the accused are claiming were signed under duress.

For a moment, proceedings during Sergeant Batho-Bakae Mogola’s cross-examination turned out to be about previous witness Sergeant Vusumuzi Moganes’s testimony.

This was when Advocate Thulani Mngomezulu brought the Automatic Vehicle Location system records detailing Mogane’s car movement when he transported accused 2, Bongani Ntanzi on the 18th of June 2020 – the day the accused was booked out for 18 hours before he signed a confession statement the following day.

Mngomezulu says during Mogane’s testimony, the state left out key information about the four hours Mogane spent in the Verwoerdpark vicinity in Alberton with Bongani Ntanzi, the night before he signed his first confession statement.

“I submit that it was deliberately omitted by the state by not leading the evidence of the AVLs from the 18th of June. I will make that argument,” says Mngomezulu.

Mngomezulu says according to the accused’s version, the first time the assault by the police started they were at an open field next to Engen garage on Grey Avenue in Alberton.

However, Mogane at the time was not led on the AVL records at all during his evidence in chief and only the 19th of June was dealt with when the records were eventually introduced during re-examination.

Mngomezulu contends this was deliberate.

The accused’s version, according to Mngomezulu, is that while at this field next to a garage, more police officers including previous witnesses Constable Logan Jonathan and Jabulani Buthelezi, arrived before the assault started.

However, the two officers have previously denied ever being at a garage with Mogane and Ntanzi and have also denied they ever assaulted the accused.

Under cross-examination, following the introduction of AVL records depicting his car movements on the day, Mogane conceded he was at the garage and contradicted Jonathan and Buthelezi, telling the court they did arrive, but had not assaulted the accused.

He told the court the reason he had had to stop at the garage was because he had experienced mechanical issues with the car he was driving when they returned from Carletonville with the accused, where they had gone to verify whether he was indeed at work the day Senzo Meyiwa was shot and killed.

Denial followed by concession

“All of them denied. They denied being in that vicinity and assaulting the accused. When the evidence of the AVL was led it transpired, according to the recordings, that the Toyota Fortuner on the 18th of June was near Grey Avenue,” charged Mngomezulu.

The state contended that the proposition by Mngomezulu was wrong and stated that the defense had initially put it to Mogane that the assault they referred to had happened on the 19th of June – this being the reason why Mogane was only led on the records that particular day and not the 18th. But Mngomezulu sought to put issues into clearer perspective.

“The assault was on the evening of the 18th of June in an open area and on the 19th it was at Orlando in Soweto,” says Mngomezulu.

Mngomezulu says he will argue that the witnesses have not been reliable

“Jonathan and Buthelezi denied that they joined Mogane at a garage. The evidence that has been confirmed by Mogane, I will submit that it is not reliable evidence, which was subsequently, admitted by him, confirming the version of accused 2.”

Torture of accused

Sergeant Mogola, the witness currently on the stand, the arresting officer of accused 1, Muzi Sibiya, on the 30th of May 2020.

She has denied being part assault of the accused or being witness to any.

“After the accused was put in Jonathan’s car (at the open field next to the garage), he was assaulted by Mabena, while Buthelezi stood outside with the door open,” asks Mngomezulu.

“I do not want to comment because I did not witness that,” responds Mogola.

But Mngomezulu’s version continued.

Mngomezulu: Jonathan was also present. He knelt in the front seat and pushed his seat to press him hard and that is when the torturing, and tubing took place. A plastic, bearing the name Truworths, was used to cover his face.

Mogola: My lord, no comment, because I wasn’t there.

Mngomezulu: Soon after that, they drove to a place that the accused could see was a dumping area, where he was further assaulted and electrocuted.

Mogola: I cannot comment because I was not there.

There were also allegations that on one of the occasions when the accused was tortured, she arrived with the lead investigator in the case, Brigadier Bongani Gininda, before Gininda ordered the accused to sign the prepared confessional statement to avoid further torture.

Mngomezulu: He (Gininda) took documents and handed them to (Colonel Mohale) Raphadu and told him ‘if you don’t sign the assault will continue’. And that is when accused 2 appended his signature.

Mogola: I still repeat that is a lie.

Mngomezulu: All the pages were not signed and that is why they had to drive to Moroka to put the thumbprint.

Mogola: My lord, that is a lie.

The trial continues.