‘I knew one day I’d have to take responsibility for Meyiwa’s murder’

The defense for accused 1 and 2 speaking to the accused in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial at the high court in Pretoria.
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State witness, Sergeant Batho-Bakae Mogola, revealed in court today that accused No.1 Muzi Sibiya had long anticipated the day when he would be held accountable for the murder of former Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa.

This is the first time that the court has been given an insight into the content of the confession statements that the State alleges were made by the accused.

Under cross-examination, Mogola told the court about a conversation she said she had with Sibiya outside a hostel in Vusumuzi  Section in Tembisa on the day she arrested him on 30 May 2020.

She said while making some admissions about his involvement in the 2014 murder of the former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper, Sibiya said he knew the day was coming.

“He started to tell me about his knowledge or his involvement in the matter and I stopped him and told him he was not compelled to make any confession, and that he had the right to consult, and that a lawyer could be provided to him at the state’s expense. And then he said ‘Right now, I don’t need a lawyer’,” explained Mogola, an officer of 18 years attached to the Cold Case Unit.

“That’s why I further asked him why he was telling me now. He even asked me what I meant by that. I told him you saw people were wrongfully arrested and the matter remains unresolved and why didn’t you come forward and tell the police that, like what you are telling me? And, my lord, he said he knew that one day he would have to take responsibility for the murder of Senzo Meyiwa.”

Advocate Charles Mnisi had requested the witness to tell the court at what point she had asked the accused exactly what he would choose to do after she had explained his constitutional rights which included the right to remain silent, the right to make a confession, and the right to legal representation, among others.

Mnisi was not happy with the long explanation by Mogola.

“You’d know, you’d know very well that some of the information you are saying now is inadmissible. I am asking you at what point did you tell him what was it that he chose to do after you explained to him his rights,” said Mnisi.

“But I have just told you,” Mogola said in response.

Mogola maintained that the accused indicated he understood his constitutional rights as she explained them to him in isiZulu.

The High Court in Pretoria is hearing arguments on the admissibility of confession statements by accused 1 and 2, pointings-out by accused 1, and warning statements by the three other accused.

Torture or no torture? 

The defence has told the court that accused 1 and 2, Bongani Ntanzi, were tortured and had not voluntarily confessed in relation to Meyiwa’s 2014 murder at his then-girlfriend Kelly Khumalo’s house in Vosloorus.

According to Mogane, following admissions by Sibiya, she then contacted the lead investigator in the case, Brigadier Bongani Gininda, who then arranged for a neutral person to take down the confession from Sibiya.

A few hours later, Sibiya was transported to the Diepkloof Police Station where he allegedly confessed in front of Colonel Mhlanganyela Mbotho.

Mogola denied that after the accused was arrested he was taken to a local municipal building known as Lethabong where he was tortured until he messed up his pants before he was taken to Vosloorus where he faced further torture.

“My lord, accused 1 is not telling the truth when he says he was taken to a municipal building. We went to Vosloorus and parked at the police station next to the court. And when we left Tembisa he had already made admissions and that is why I had to call Brig Gininda to say the accused had made admissions in relation to Senzo Meyiwa’s murder. That’s when he said we should meet at the police station and not directly drive to the Basothong Hostel in Vosloorus,” said Mogola.

Official complaint of assault

The court today heard for the first time an official complaint of assault by the police. The complaint was lodged when Sibiya appeared before the Tembisa Magistrate’s Court on 10 July 2020, more than a month after his arrest.

According to a note contained in the charge sheet, read out in court, Sibiya complained that while he was detained at the Silverton Police Station he was assaulted by the police and requested to be transferred to a correctional facility.

But according to Mogola, Sibiya had made up the story because “lies were catching up with him”. She said when she followed up on the complaint by Sibiya, she could not find anything to support the assault claim.

“He made those claims because somewhere he’d lied and the lies were catching up with him and that is why he asked to be transferred,” Mogola explained.

She says to further show that Sibiya’s complaint was devoid of any truth, he later made another request to be taken back to police’s holding cells, away from the correctional facility.

“He later asked if I could take him back to the police station because the food at the Correctional Centre was not like the food at the police station. He wanted to be detained back at the police’s holding cells. But I told him he’d come back and accuse us of assaulting him and I refused.”

The defence has concluded cross-examination and the state will start her re-examination on Thursday morning – this before vehicle tracking expert, Michael Du Preez takes the witness stand to present a report mapping previous witness, Sergeant Vusumuzi Mogane’s car movements when he transported Ntanzi in June 2020.