The lead investigator in the murder case of former Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa has denied all allegations of his presence at accused 2, Bongani Ntanzi’s alleged torture, tubing and assault.
Brigadier Bongani Gininda has also denied that accused 1, Muzi Sibiya and Ntanzi were ever assaulted by members of his investigating team before the confessed to the murder of the former Bafana Bafana captain.
Gininda has been giving evidence in the trial within a trial hearing arguments on the admissibility of confession statements, pointing out and warning statements by the accused.
The defense’s version is that following Ntanzi’s initial assault by the police at an open field next to a garage in Alberton on the 18th of June, the police took the accused to a dumping place in Germiston and continued to assault him before Gininda arrived with Sergeant Batho Mogola and an unnamed man with braces.
The assault, according to the defense, continued on the 19th in Orlando, next to disused ATMs and once again Gininda allegedly arrived with Mogola having prepared confession statements and allegedly told the accused to sign the documents if he didn’t want the beating to continue.
Gininda has denied this.
“On the 19th, it is incorrect. Sergeant Mogola took the accused to court on that day and there’s a charge sheet. She took him from the Valleria Police Station to Tembisa and back. There are even OB entries to support that. And on that day, she wasn’t even issued with a white BMW. She was driving a red Golf,” says Gininda.
He says he the only time he met Ntanzi on that day was after he had already confessed to Colonel Mohale Raphadu at the Moroka Police Station. This was in Rustenburg where the members of the investigating team, Sergeant Vusumuzi Mogane and the late Sergeant Steven Mabena, had transported the accused to, in order to search for a hoodie at his place of his residence. This is the hoodie the people who were in the house when Meyiwa was shot and killed, of one of the two alleged intruders had worn.
“That was my first encounter with accused 2 in Phokeng. We reported to the local police station and we were then accompanied by the local police to where the accused stayed. So, during that time until he was taken to Primrose there was no assault and in Phokeng that was when I met the accused for the first time on that specific day. Even in the entry books, there are no entries reflecting any assault from the time he was detained in Phokeng on that day and when he was transferred to Primrose,” explains Gininda.
According to Gininda, Mogola was only issued with a white BMW in 2021 and she used it to transport accused 1 and 2 in relation to the Meyiwa matters and other cases. She says this is where they how they could have known about a white BMW.
With regard to the 18th of June allegations, Gininida say the only time he saw Ntanzi on that day was in Carletonville where the accused, according to Gininda, said things to him that were “tantamount to a confession”.
He had denied he had handed confession statements to Colonel Raphadu.
“I deny those allegations because when I spoke to Colonel Raphadu (arranging for the taking of the confession) I had never seen him before or worked with him before. The only first time I saw him was when I fetched the confession statement and the proforma from him the following day.”
Meanwhile, the South African Police Service has confirmed that it’s investigating a case of assault following an incident in court on Monday where a physical ensued between some of the accused and one of the prison wardens, Vusi Jele.
The case has been opened against accused 3, Mthobisi Mncube, Accused 4, Mthokoziseni Maphisa and accused 5, Fisokuhle Ntuli.
A scuffle breaks out between prison waders and the accused in the #SenzoMeyiwaTrial.
The warders, who transport accused 4, Mthokozoseni Maphisa, wanted him to go down during the adjournment but he seemingly wanted to know why him alone.#SABCNews #SenzoMeyiwa pic.twitter.com/MH2sHnWO54
— Sipho King K Kekana (@KingKAzania) November 27, 2023
During the tea break, Jele could be heard ordering the accused who were sitting in the dock to go down, while they mumbled, seemingly in refusal to follow the instruction.
He approached them, shouting “You will go down.”
It was the warden that first elbowed accused 3, Mthobisi Mncube, before a full physical scuffle ensued between the warden, Mncube, Mthobisi Maphisa and Fisokuhle Ntuli.
Prison official opens assault case:
According to Advocate Charles Mnisi, after consultation with his client, the accused were standing up to stretch themselves when they were confronted by the warden and instructed to sit as they sit during proceedings.
“Apparently, the gentleman would always command to sit as they are sitting here as if the proceedings are on. He did that again and he told them if they want to take his instruction he will hit them. Then they said but this is an adjournment and he started to hit him with a shoulder. That the version I am getting,” says Mnisi.
Advocate Charles Nxumalo says he got the same version from the accused.
However, the warden contradicted this version saying he was merely doing his job of monitoring the accused in court when the scuffle broke out.
“Moments after the short adjournment, all the accused were standing … five or six minutes later accused 4 was sitting on top like this (demonstrating by sitting casually on top of a court bench). I said ‘Ntuli’ (referring to Maphisa)… I am not familiar with their names, I said ‘Ntuli, you cannot sit like that’. He said you can’t tell me how to sit. Three of them were now howling saying sizokushaya (we will beat you),” says Jele.
He says this was not the first time the accused had refused to take his instructions even though the first time it happened on the 15th it did not end up in a physical fight.
“On the 15th, they did the same thing and the fourth accused was doing the same thing. Before we went down, he was sitting like this (once again demonstrating by casually sitting on top a court bench), and I shouted again and said ‘you cannot sit like that’. We went down and I called them and I tried to address them and they told me it was not my issue to worry about. The orderly even saw that. I told them they were wrong and that they were my responsibility and that is the reason why I am here throughout the proceedings,” he says.
He says today, they warned him not to come closer, before he did so and elbowing the third accused.
“They said sizokushaya (we’ll beat you up) if you come closer. I approached and I was trying to pull number 4. I went down like this and that is when I saw a blow coming my way. Accused 1 and 2 were not doing anything.”
Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng, after listening to the legal counsel and Jele, has advised all parties involved in the scuffle to respect the court decorum.
“Let’s behave ourselves. There is nothing wrong with stretching. You can even jump but this thing of fighting in parliament. But if the gentleman believes you are not maintaining the decorum of the court he is allowed to have a word with you,” says the judge.