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Police officer says it only ‘clicked’ after seeing Senzo Meyiwa’s body in hospital that the Khumalo home was a crime scene

Orlando Pirates FC players sing and dance around the coffin of Senzo Meyiwa. File Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Orlando Pirates FC players sing and dance around the coffin of Senzo Meyiwa. File Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Published Aug 17, 2023


A Vosloorus police officer who was one of the first to respond at the scene, has told the Gauteng North High Court in Pretoria that he only realised they were dealing with a serious crime when he saw Senzo Meyiwa's body at the Botshelong Hospital.

The officer was one of four officers who failed to secure the crime scene by cordoning it off, before going to the hospital.

Sergeant Timothy Mathebula told the court that he, along with Sergeant Mlungisi Mthethwa and two other student constables, had been dispatched to the Khumalo Vosloorus house when police received a complaint of a shooting in progress at 8.53pm on the evening of October 26, 2014.

They went to the house and found Kelly Khumalo's uncle, Themba, who was also a police officer, who allowed them into the house, and they observed dirty dishes, alcohol cans on the floor, a hat, and crutches near the kitchen sink.

He said Themba informed them Meyiwa had been shot, but they saw no blood initially and they did not find any cartridges during a short search.

Mathebula testified that the police officers did not cordon off the crime scene, and they locked the house and left to go to the hospital, where upon arrival they found Kelly in Meyiwa's BMW X6 and were directed into the casualty ward.

They were led by Sister Nceketo to a small room where the nurse pointed to a bullet hole on Meyiwa's chest, and then it dawned on him that they were dealing with a crime scene at the Vosloorus house.

"It clicked that it was a crime scene at the Vosloorus house," said Mathebula.

"I called Constable to come to the hospital so we could rush back to the house," he said.

He testified that they returned to the house with Kelly’s mother, Ntombi MaKhumalo, and on the way she explained what happened.

Mathebula said that upon their return, he cordoned off the crime scene and closed the gate, telling the court that Themba was still at the house when they returned.

They asked MaKhumalo to demonstrate what happened, and she cooperated, showing them near the kitchen.

"We checked around the house for cartridges, and where there was a hat, we found a bullet projectile," Mathebula told the court.

"We found damage on the kitchen door, and we also found blood stains in the dining room next to the couch," he said.

Mathevula said he called Warrant Officer Maphanga to contact the photographer at the Crime Service Centre.

Later, a Captain Zwane arrived at the house, and Constable Mosia, who was the photographer, arrived just before midnight.

He said they were excused after members of a provincial task team came and explained they would be taking over the case.

Under cross-examination by advocate Sipho Ramosepele, who is the defence for Accused number one, Muzikawukhulelwa Sthemba Sibiya, questioned Mathebula about when he saw blood in the house.

He replied that he saw it after they returned from the hospital.

Ramosepele read Mathebula's second police statement, which was written on February 15, 2018, which said he had seen the blood the first time they entered the Khumalo household.

He also said under cross examination that it was police procedure to secure the crime scene in order to preserve its integrity.

Earlier this week, advocate Zandile Mshololo, the legal counsel for Sifisokuhle Ntuli, asked the officer why they had not left any officers at the scene to ensure that there was no tampering.

Mshololo accused officer Mthethwa of failing to do his duty, which entailed securing the scene of a crime upon arrival.

The five accused in the Meyiwa murder trial are Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Ncube, Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa, and Fisokuhle Nkani Ntuli.

They are facing charges of murder, attempted murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

The trial continues.