The defence in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial has been at pains trying to locate dumping and steel sites along the route Sergeant Vusumuzi Mogane travelled on the 18th and the 19th of June 2020. This is around the time accused No.2 in the matter, Bongani Ntanzi, is alleging he was tortured into confession by the officers investigating former Orlando Pirates Goalkeeper, Senzo Meyiwa’s murder.
However, by the end of the evidence of vehicle tracking expert Michael Du Preez, the defence had not succeeded in showing any stops at possible places where the accused had claimed he was tortured, tubed, choked, and assaulted before signing alleged prepared confession statements.
On the 18th of June, Mogane transported, Ntanzi to his former workplace, at a mine in Carletonville to confirm his version that he was at work on the day Meyiwa was shot and killed. The HR department at the mine confirmed that he was not at work on that day.
Following the Carletonville trip, Mogane made a four-hour stop at an Engen garage in Alberton which he has told the court was because of the mechanical problem he was experiencing with the car.
Advocate Thulani Mngomezulu’s attempts to get a concession from the state witness, vehicle tracking expert that there was a movement by the car during this stop, drew a blank. This is as Du Preez testified to an Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system record detailing the precise mapping of the Toyota Fortuner Mogane was driving at the time.
“If you look at the odometer of the car, it says 272 000 at the time it arrived at the garage and it was stationed there until midnight and the odometer reading is still 272 000. So, it shows the car didn’t move, my lord,” says Du Preez.
Mngomezulu has previously told the court that it was at the open field next to the garage that Ntanzi was first assaulted by a group of police officers and was also taken to an area with a dumping site as well as another area with steel poles and stairs where the torture, tubing and choking continued.
This version is not reflected on the AVL records on that evening.
The only AVL record of a steel place and a dumping site along Mogane’s route appears on the 19th of June – the day Ntanzi allegedly confessed at the Moroka Police Station.
This was when Mngomezulu pointed Du Preez to a steel production industrial area named Scaw Metal in the opposite direction to where Mogane is seen moving in on the afternoon of the 19th of June. The counsel also pointed out that an Ekurhuleni Metro Waste Exchange along the Heidelberg Road, but without Mogane’s car making a stop there. The next stop Mogane’s car made was at the Newmarket Park Shopping Centre – three kilometers from the likely dumping site.
“I put it to you that there was no shopping centre at the Newmarket Park in 2020,” claimed Mngomezulu, after requesting the witness to display pictures of the area in that year. Without saying Ntanzi was assaulted here, Mngomezulu claims the place was an open area in 2020.
Du Preez did not have the pictures of the area to confirm whether there had been new developments post-2020.
Mngomezulu: So, there’s a possibility of change on what was there in 2020 to what is there now?
Du Preez: My lord, things change all the time. I wouldn’t know.
Advocate George Baloyi: My lord, the witness is asked to speculate.
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The judge has told Mngomezulu he was allowed to bring evidence to prove there was no shopping complex at Newmarket Park in 2020.
On Monday, Du Preez told the court that the at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital was possible, disclaiming that he was merely speculating.
This is where the defense has alleged that the police met with Colonel Mohale Raphadu before they continued to Orlando where the assault continued before the arrival of Sergeant Batho-Bakae Mogola and Brigadier Bongani Gininda in a white BMW.
Du Preez: The vehicle proceeded onto the N12, taking the Chris Hani Baragwanath Road and stopped at the SAPS Moroka Police Station.
Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng: Did it enter Baragwanath hospital?
Du Preez: My lord it shows, and maybe if we do this, it appears that as it left Chris Hani, then it went GPS unlocked from 15h48 until 16h03 when it left Baragwanath hospital, already. My lord, if it entered that area it must have driven through that area. At 15h48, it shows it was at the gates of Baragwanath and at 16h03 – that is 20 minutes later it was driving. It is possible that it could have stopped at that location. But given GPS unlocked it is mere speculation. I said, my lord, at 16h16, their vehicle was at Moroka Police Station.
The trial will resume on Monday with a new witness on the stand.