‘Meyiwa’s murder was a contract killing, not robbery gone wrong’

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The killing of former Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa was not a robbery gone wrong, but a contract killing. That’s the view of Advocate Gerrie Nel, Head of AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit, who insists the evidence being led so far in court points to a hit and not a robbery as is believed by some. 

Speaking to SABC News before proceedings on Friday, Nel expressed satisfaction with how the trial is proceeding. 

After years of not much progress reported on Meyiwa’s murder case, the NPA, in 2020, announced a breakthrough in the investigation when Muzi Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Ziphozonnke Maphisa, and Sifisokuhle Ntuli were charged with Meyiwa’s murder, attempted murder of other witnesses, robbery with aggravating circumstances, unlawful possession of a firearm, and possession of ammunition. 

All five pleaded not guilty to all the charges. 

The court is currently hearing arguments on the admissibility of confession statements by accused Sibiya and Ntanzi, pointings-out by Sibiya as well as warning statements by Mncube, Maphisa and Ntuli. 

The defense has opposed the admissibility of these, arguing that their clients were tortured, assaulted, tubed and choked into signing the confession statement. 

Proceedings on Friday were cut short and the matter was postponed to Monday as Advocate Thulani Mngomezulu for accused 1 and 2 was reported ill.  

“Some people don’t seem to take this matter seriously,” said Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng before he announced the postponement. 

Contact on two occasions

Previously, Cellphone Expert and Investigating Officer, Lambertus Steyn has told the court that a cellphone number registered under the Asinne hitmaker Kelly Khumalo had contact with a number registered under accused 5, Fisokuhle Ntuli, on two occasions, the first time being on the 2nd of August 2014 at 22h40 with the call lasting for 110 seconds while the other call was recorded on the 15th of October 2014 at 17:33 with a call that lasted 98 seconds.  

On both occasions, Khumalo received the calls. 

Steyn, who says he has done about 2000 cases in his career, has told the court that in April 2020, he received a CD containing cellphone data from investigation officer Brigadier Gininda. He says Gininda tasked him with establishing linkages between the five accused and any of the people who were in the house before the alleged two intruders stormed into the house.   

The state has said they have no intention of calling Kelly Khumalo to give testimony in court. However, the defense says they will be bringing an application to have her appear in court. 

Steyn has told the court that he cannot from his own investigation say if there was any conspiracy to commit crime by Ntuli and Kelly. 

On the day Meyiwa was shot and killed, after two intruders had entered the house and demanded cellphones and money, only one cellphone was stolen.  

Data deleted

Steyn, during his testimony, told the court that his analysis had revealed that data on Kelly’s phone was deleted moments after 1am on the 27th of October, a few hours after Meyiwa had been shot and killed. 

According to Khumalo’s sister, Zandile, a cellphone belonging to Kelly was grabbed from her mother, Gladness’ hands by the alleged armed intruder after Meyiwa, with a bullet wound to his chest, had fallen between a couch and a TV stand in the Khumalo household’s sitting room.  

Steyn could not say whether Kelly’s other cellphone from which data was wiped off immediately after 1am on the morning following Meyiwa’s killing, was already in the police’s possession when the information was deleted from it. He says even if the cellphone was already confiscated by the police, the deletion could still have happened remotely. 

Shining the spotlight on the accused’s whereabouts, the prosecution previously called, as a witness, police officer, Constable Sizwe Zungu, who told the court he had partied with all the five accused at a hostel 4,5 kilometers from Meyiwa’s murder scene on the day the soccer was killed.  

All the accused, who have pleaded not guilty to the murder, have denied partying with Zungu at a local hostel on the day, as per Zungu’s evidence that he had been with all the accused in the afternoon before they disappeared and later returned to the hostel in a panic carrying guns. 

Zungu, who was under heavy police protection, said he knew all accused before the court, and that he was well-acquainted with accused 1 and 2 who he says were at the hostel the night Meyiwa shot.