Police officers who arrested Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, one of the Senzo Meyiwa murder-accused, assaulted him so badly he messed his pants and had to go to his Thembisa shack and change before being taken to custody.
This version of events has been shared in court by defence advocate Thulani Mngomezulu who has continued to claim police assaulted and tortured his clients in order for them to make confessions.
The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria is currently in a trial-within-a-trial to determine if alleged confessions made by accused one and two, Sibiya and Bongani Ntanzi, were made freely and voluntarily.
Sibiya had been arrested on May 31, 2020, in Thembisa by a team of officers from the SA Police Services and the Ekurhuleni Metro Police.
Under cross examination by Mngomezulu, Ekurhuleni Metro Police (EMPD) Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit officer Constable Jabulani Buthelezi, told the court that Sibiya led the officers to his shack where he apparently changed from his flip flops to his Carvela shoes and changed his pants as well due to discomfort.
“I put it to you that he changed his pants because he messed himself after you assaulted him so much,” advocate Mngomezulu said to Buthelezi.
Buthelezi denied the assault, saying they only went to the shack once seeking Sibiya’s ID document and they never returned again.
While searching for Sibiya's ID document in the shack, police found live rounds of ammunition and magazines, which he was subsequently charged for as well. He had been arrested after police secured an arrest warrant for him on a separate drug dealing charge.
Advocate Mngomezulu claimed officers forced entry into the shack as the key was with Sibiya’s uncle, but this was denied, as Buthelezi said the key was in Sibiya's pocket.
“There was no need to break the door of the shack, it was not broken because the key was in his pocket,” said Buthelezi.
The defence sought to show the search conducted was unlawful as the police did not have a search warrant.
“We had his permission (to search). He told us where to search for his ID book. Secondly, when we found the ID, he was the one who was saying look for the ID here and there.
“He was arrested, I was the one who needed the ID,” said Buthelezi.
“You opened the fridge and found unwashed dishes in the fridge. Can you find an ID in the fridge?” Mngomezulu asked.
“You can keep it if the fridge does not work. I did not say my reason for opening the fridge was for the ID. It would have been easier if the permission was specific to say look here and here. It said you can look everywhere,” said Buthelezi.
Under cross-examination by defence advocate Zandile Mshololo, Buthelezi confirmed they had no search warrant.
He was asked: “why did you not ask him to go fetch his ID?”
Buthelezi replied: “You cannot release an arrested person and say they must go search for their ID”.
Buthelezi also denied a claim by the defence that Sibiya had been electrocuted on his stomach by officers Jonathan, Mabena and Buthelezi.
A new witness is expected to take the stand on Wednesday.
The trial continues.