Senzo Meyiwa Trial: Bongani Ntanzi was calm and relaxed, but had not washed in 8 days when he made confession, magistrate tells court

Accused two in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, Bongani Ntanzi. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)

Accused two in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, Bongani Ntanzi. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Oct 17, 2023


A Boksburg magistrate who administered a confession of accused number two, Bongani Ntanzi, says he complained of not bathing for eight days, but was calm and relaxed when he made a confession related to the murder of footballer Senzo Meyiwa.

Magistrate Vivienne Cronje has taken the stand at the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial in the North Gauteng High Court, Pretoria.

There is currently a trial-within-a-trial in court to determine the admissibility of confessions by Ntanzi and Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, accused one. Sibiya made a confession before peace officer Colonel Moses Mbotho, which the court heard last week.

Magistrate Cronje told the court she administered Ntanzi’s confession in June 2020, who was in the presence of his lawyer at the time, a certain Mr Dominic Mjiyako.

Police only announced the arrest of the five accused - Sibiya, Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa, and Fisokuhle Nkani Ntuli, on October 26, 2020.

Magistrate Cronje said there had been a huge group of about eight armed Ekurhuleni Metro Police when a handcuffed Ntanzi came to make his confession at the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court. To the irritation of the police, she demanded a list of all the officers involved and attached their names to the confession.

State advocate George Baloyi told the court there was an audio recording of the confession, which would be played to defence attorneys.

Cronje told the court that she had been a magistrate since July 1996, having been a prosecutor since December 1990. She has administered about 50 confessions.

Cronje said Ntanzi told her he had been arrested on June 16, 2020, had not appeared in court, nor had he taken a bath. He gave his confession on June 24, 2020.

Cronje asked Ntanzi to describe in his own words how he had come to make his confession.

Cronje recorded Ntanzi as saying:

“The police called me and asked me if I know of Senzo Meyiwa’s death. I was arrested on the 16th, I didn't see or understand what was going on.
“I didn't understand when I was supposed to appear in court. If one is arrested, they are supposed to come to court. I called my attorney and I told him I want to come to court”.

In terms of the Criminal Procedures Act, suspects are to appear in court within 48 hours of their arrest.

Cronje said she informed Ntanzi that he was under no obligation to incriminate himself and that he had a right to remain silent.

Magistrate Cronje also recorded the confession for her own records. This recording, which is said to be three hours long, is set to be viewed by the defence attorneys overnight.

“I cautioned the deponent that he was under no obligation to make the statement, and it could be used against him. I asked him if he understood, and he said yes,” said Magistrate Cronje.

She said Ntanzi had been relaxed, calm, and maintained eye contact with both the interpreter and herself.

He made a request to have a bath and to contact his family and his child.

Magistrate Cronje said Ntanzi sported no noticeable injuries, and he told her of two scars, one sustained at work as a miner and an old scar caused by his grandmother, who had been trying to hit a chicken.

Ntanzi also said the police did not assault him.

Magistrate Cronje is expected to be cross-examined by the defence on Wednesday.