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Senzo Meyiwa trial: Zandile Khumalo explains how she lost her mind after fatal shooting and struggled to dial 10111

The five men accused of the murder of South African soccer star Senzo Meyiwa appear at the high court in Pretoria on May 2. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/ African News Agency (ANA)

The five men accused of the murder of South African soccer star Senzo Meyiwa appear at the high court in Pretoria on May 2. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/ African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 19, 2023


Pretoria – State witness Zandile Lorraine Khumalo, one of the people who was in the house when Bafana Bafana star goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa was killed, has told the court how she had a mental block and failed to dial 10111 after the intruders fled the scene.

Khumalo told the court that she momentarily lost her mind and failed to call the police after the intruders escaped.

She had managed to hide her phone from the intruders, who demanded money and cellphones, and had managed to flee to a bathroom in the house.

After the intruders fled, she explained: “I tried to dial but because I was in shock, I couldn’t even remember the number I was trying to call.”

The number was 10111, the emergency number for the police.

State advocate George Baloyi asked what number did she want to call.

“I wanted to call 10111, but because I had a mental block I couldn’t remember,” she said.

Zandile was testifying at the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on Friday.

She is a musician and the sister of musician Kelly Khumalo, who was dating Meyiwa when he was killed.

The songstress said she didn’t see who pulled the trigger because she ran into the bathroom when the gun went off.

“I knelt down on my knees in the bathroom to take cover. I heard another gunshot. All the shots came from the kitchen,” she said .

She said after two more shots were fired, there was silence in the house and she opened the door slightly to see what was happening.

“I saw Senzo coming from the kitchen. He was wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and white sneakers. He knelt just next to the couch and the TV stand ... Kelly came and stood behind Senzo,” she said, describing how a shot Meyiwa stumbled back into the lounge.

She said her mother reached out for Kelly’s cellphone and one of the intruders who was still in the house snatched the phone and ran off.

“I came out of the bathroom when I realised that the intruders left and I asked what happened and Kelly told me Senzo has been shot.”

She explained that she took her phone, which was hidden behind the cushion on the couch. She hid it after the intruders walked in demanding money and cellphones.

When she got her phone, she failed to dial 10111 and instead ran to the neighbours for help.

She said she first ran to neighbour Maggie Phiri’s house, the same woman who allegedly cleaned the crime scene, concealing alcohol cans, before police could arrive.

“I screamed at MaPhiri, ‘MaPhiri, please call the police and ambulance!’ ... I told her intruders came into the house and shot Senzo. That’s when MaPhiri started panicking.“

Instead of calling the police, Phiri told her niece Nthabiseng to call for help.

“Nthabiseng went hysterical and put her hands on her head. I realised that I wasn’t going to get help from them, so I went back inside the house,” she said.

Zandile said she helped to get Meyiwa into his car before rushing him to hospital.

She said she was with Kelly, as well as Meyiwa’s two friends, Tumelo Madlala and Mthokozisi Thwala.

“Inside the car we were all taking turns to compress on the wound where the towel was. Kelly was driving and she was driving at a high speed.”

On the way, she said she was touching Meyiwa’s face in an effort to keep him awake.

“I remember placing my hands on his abdominal area, and could tell that he was getting cold.”

After arriving at Botshelong Hospital, she said it didn’t take long before he was pronounced dead.

“While we were waiting, my mother arrived at the hospital with Longwe Twala. She asked how Senzo was doing and where he was, and I pointed to the room where they had taken him.

“My mother then walked towards that room. A few seconds later, my mother started crying out loud. Usually when my mother cries, she doesn’t scream. But on that occasion there was a blast of a scream. That’s when I realised that something was not right.

“My mother came with one doctor, and they told us that Senzo is no more,’’ she said, sobbing.

Meyiwa was killed while visiting Khumalo’s home in Vosloorus.

Bongani Ntanzi, Sifisokuhle Ntuli, Muzikawukhulelwa Sthemba Sibiya, Mthobisi Prince Ncube and Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa have been charged with the October 26, 2014 murder.

The State alleges the footballer was killed in a botched house robbery.

The trial resumes on June 12.