A DNA expert from the SA Police Service (SAPS) took the stand at the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial on Monday in a bid to help piece together the Vosloorus crime scene on the night of October 26, 2014, when the footballer was gunned down.
Captain Mmamshedi Masetla is a senior forensic analyst with over 25 years experience in the biological sciences.
He told the North Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, he obtained a BSc in zoology and physiology as well as an honours degree in genetics from the University of the North (now known as the University of Limpopo) in 2000 and 2001, respectively.
The five murder accused in the Meyiwa murder trial, which is being heard at the Gauteng North High Court in Pretoria, are Muzikawukhulelwa Sthemba Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa, and Fisokuhle Nkani Ntuli (accused one to five, respectively).
The people who were in the house on the day Meyiwa was murdered were Kelly Khumalo and her younger sister, Zandile; their mother, Gladness Ntombi Khumalo (MaKhumalo); Longwe Twala; Meyiwa’s friends, Mthokozisi Thwala and Tumelo Madlala; Kelly’s then four-year-old son, Christian; and Thingo, her daughter with Meyiwa.
Masetla told the court he had obtained DNA samples of all the accused and the people who were in the house.
He explained that as a forensic DNA analyst, he was able to take samples — semen, blood, or sweat—to successfully link someone. He said the DNA composition was the same whether on hair, blood, semen, or sweat.
In his witness testimony, Masetla said his findings were able to place Meyiwa, MaKhumalo, and Zandi Khumalo at the crime scene, while three of the accused, Maphisa, Ntuli, and Sibiya, could not be placed at the crime scene as their DNA was excluded from all samples that Masetla analysed.
The evidence appears consistent with the testimony of Madlala and other people in the house who have told the court that two armed intruders entered the house on the fatal October night.
Madlala and Zandile Khumalo have already identified Ntanzi as one of the intruders, while police officer Constable Sizwe Zungu cautiously identified Mncube as the dreadlocked intruder who entered the house, saying in court he had even told a major-general about his suspicions.
Masetla has yet to testify on the DNA evidence of both Ntanzi and Mncube, but he did tell the court that a scotch hat found at the scene matched none of the accused. He said they tried to obtain DNA evidence through the sweat on the hat.
Masetla also excluded any DNA matching between Kelly Khumalo, Twala, Madlala, and Thwala.
He said Zandile Khumalo’s DNA was matched on a Smirnoff can, while MaKhumalo’s DNA evidence was found on a toilet door, and Meyiwa's DNA evidence was found on a Heineken beer can and on blood splatters near the TV stand, on the kitchen wall, and on the floor.
Masetla will continue his expert witness testimony on Tuesday.