Vehicle tracking system tampering evidence heard in court

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An expert in vehicle tracking systems has told the High Court in Pretoria that while it is not impossible, it is highly unlikely that the Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system could be tampered with.

Since Monday, the court has been hearing evidence about the movements of Sergeant Vusumuzi Mogane’s car, which were recorded by the Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) system. It was when Mogane transported accused No 2, Bongani Ntanzi, to various locations, including two of his alleged confessions in Soweto and Boksburg.

On Thursday, the state called Michael du Preez, CEO of C-Track – a company responsible for installing tracking devices in SAPS vehicles.

He’s confirmed the authenticity of the data before the court, telling the court that it would be virtually impossible to alter the data. 

“Without intimate knowledge of the system, it is virtually impossible to tamper with the data. It is protected by various firewall encryption, and it is stored in environments which are designed to store data in definite sequences. If someone tried to alter the data, the chronological order of the data would appear out of sequence and out of logical reason.” 

Earlier in the day, Advocate Thulani Mngomezulu used the data to question Mogane on why he spent two hours with the accused at Moroka police station when he said he was there to collect the keys and USB stick of his colleague, the late Steven Mabena.

Mogane transported Ntanzi to the Moroka Police Station to the Moroka Police Station for his first alleged confession in front Colonel Mohale Raphadu.  

According to Mogane, after the alleged confession, the admissibility of which is being challenged by the defence, they took Ntanzi to Vosloorus for a court appearance before Mabena realised he’d left his keys and USB stick at Moroka.

However, the AVL records indicate that Mogane arrived at the police station at 16h16 and only left at 18h28. 

Amid allegations of torture, Mngomezulu demanded an explanation. 

“Like I said, we arrived at the Moroka Police Station and Sgt Mabena went inside and I think he was assisted at the charge office with perhaps calling the person he’d left his keys and USB in. And again, since it was on a Friday, people had knocked off when we got there. He said they’d informed him the person was coming back to the station. That was the reason we spent so much time there,” explained Mogane. 

“Who will come and confirm that information? Because Sgt Mabena is no more and there’s no other name that appears there of the person Mabena was waiting for,” asked Mngomezulu, telling the witness that on that basis, he would ask the court to reject his evidence.  

“I guess the court will decide on whether to reject it. I will leave it to the court,” Mogane responded. 

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.