Pretoria – Counsel for five of the five men arrested for the murder of Bafana Bafana ace goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa has told the court that his clients’ rights were violated by police officers, and were forced to confess to a crime they did not commit.
Facing the murder charge are Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa and Sifisokuhle Nkani Ntuli. The five are also charged with attempted murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, possession of firearms without a licence and possession of ammunition.
They have all pleaded not guilty.
Advocate Malesela Teffo argued that the special plea he wanted to bring would the ongoing trial to an end, and necessitate the prosecutors to bring in new people as accused. He argued that police forced his clients to confess.
“I have instructions that the special plea be brought before the court. We have brought a special plea because we are alleging that accused one to four were assaulted to the extent that the confessions were solicited out of that assault. Its not just assault whereby one thinks of being slapped but accused one and two were profusely assaulted to the extent that they bled,” Teffo addressed Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela Maumela.
“Before they made the confessions in the form of affidavits, which I am in possession of, were done after the third assault GBH. Accused 1 and 2 unlike 3 and 4 when they were arrested the first time, they were not arrested inside a correctional centre as it happened with accused three and four. They were arrested from their respective homes and since then, they have been kept at various police stations.”
Teffo said his clients have been “a meal of the police” ever since they were arrested and “forced” to confess.
“They were assaulted and they were even suffocated to an extent that we were in the situation of apartheid police tactics where you will be suffocated with a tube to confess, to incriminate yourself on a matter that you didn’t know. Someone in a position of power of authority says take the responsibility for that matter I do not care where you were in that ungodly hour on October 26, 2014,” Teffo submitted.
Teffo was begging the court to begin a “trial within the trial” which would establish if the charged men are the right people to be tried for the murder of the soccer star.
Maumela turned down Teffo’s pleas and ordered Advocate Zandile Mshololo, who represents the fifth accused man – Ntuli – to continue with his cross-examination of police Sergeant Thabo Mosia.
The judge said the so-called confessions are not before him at this stage, and anyone affected by the documents would raise the matter when the prosecution brings the confessions before the judge.
Meyiwa was killed while visiting Khumalo, the mother of his child.
In the house that day were Meyiwa, Kelly and her younger sister, Zandile, their mother Ntombi Khumalo, Longwe Twala, Meyiwa’s friends Mthokozisi Thwala and Tumelo Madlala, Kelly’s then 4-year-old son, Christian, and Thingo, her daughter with Meyiwa.