Emboldened by a ruling that the court would not listen to an audio recording of Bongani Ntanzi’s alleged confession, the accused has now told the court that he did not sign a confession regarding the murder of footballer Senzo Meyiwa.
The Gauteng North High Court ruled on Friday that an audio recording of Ntanzi’s alleged confession, which was recorded by Magistrate Vivienne Cronje, was inadmissible as it infringed on his rights as it was made without his consent. This means that the court cannot rely on the audio recording as evidence.
The Pretoria court is currently in a trial within a trial to determine if alleged confession statements made by Ntanzi and accused one, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, were admissible.
Magistrate Vivienne Cronje, who administered the alleged confession by Ntanzi, was cross-examined by Ntanzi’s lawyer, Advocate Thulani Mngomezulu, on Friday.
“The signature on page 8 is in dispute. The accused left that office without appending his signature to any of the documents that were in front of him,” Mngomezulu told the court.
Magistrate Cronje testified that it was an absolute lie.
“He (Ntanzi) signed in front of his lawyer (Dominic Mjiyako) and the interpreter. The interpreter as well as the legal representative can attest to that if you are now disputing that”.
Magistrate Cronje told the court that Ntanzi signed the documents in front of her and after he had completed both the pro forma confession statement and a statement.
Advocate Mngomezulu also said it was his instruction that there was no legal representative representing Ntanzi after Magistrate Cronje admitted to the court that she did not make a copy of Mjiyako’s fidelity fund certificates and attach it with the confession documents. She had asked the police officers who had accompanied Ntanzi to the court to submit their appointment certificates, which copies thereof were made.
“The deponent (Ntanzi) said himself that it was his lawyer, and the lawyer confirmed it is indeed so,” said Magistrate Cronje, who added that if she has been misled, the interpreter can also be called to court.
Mngomezulu also argued that the pro forma confession statement had patent defects in that it had elements of inducement and also made promises to the accused.
He also tried to pin Magistrate Cronje in a corner, saying she did not explain what irregularities were referred to in the pro forma. The pro forma states that the deponent may be afforded protection from any irregularity.
Said Mngomezulu: “You did not explain which irregularity. You did not ask if he understood what the irregularity means”.
Magistrate Cronje explained that the irregularities included threats, being influenced to make a confession, or “anything”.
“If there was anything, then he would have told me about it. What he had to know is that he could take me into his confidence without putting any ideas into his head.
“I wasn't aware of any irregularity at that stage,” she said.
Mngomezulu also told the court that the confession was made in the presence of police officers and that Ntanzi had been tortured by police officers at four different locations.
The court heard earlier this week that Ntanzi was in police custody on June 16, 2020, appeared before Magistrate Cronje for the confession on June 24, 2020. Mngomezulu said his client only appeared in court for the first time on October 26, 2020.
“I absolutely deny that; your client knows that is not true,” said Magistrate Cronje on a version that the confession statement was taken in the presence of police officers.
“The only time the police officers were present was at the beginning, when they came to give me their appointment certificates. Sergeant Mogane gave me his name and surname certificate; he was then out of the office,” said Magistrate Cronje.
On being tortured, she said Ntanzi only showed her old injuries and said he had not been assaulted. She did not pursue the matter further.
The trial continues on Monday.