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Senzo Meyiwa’s friend tells of ‘merciless’ torture he suffered while cops were quizzing him about murder

The five murder accused of murder of South African soccer star Senzo Meyiwa appear at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

The five murder accused of murder of South African soccer star Senzo Meyiwa appear at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 3, 2023


Pretoria – Senzo Meyiwa’s friend couldn’t hold back the tears as he told the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria how he was beaten and tortured to confess to the murder of the Bafana Bafana captain.

Mthokozisi Thwala was on his second day on the stand giving testimony on the goalkeeper’s death on Wednesday.

He was one of the people in the house when the soccer star was shot dead.

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

Thwala said in 2019, two police officers came to his home unannounced and told him they had made some arrests. They needed him to identify the arrested suspects.

He said was surprised at how the officers came to his house without notifying him, because in the past they would notify him when they were coming.

“I told them this was the first time that they just arrived without notice… I asked if we could not leave the following day.They said I had made an oath that I would always be available.”

Thwala identified the officers who came to his house as one Buthelezi who was a woman. The second one was male and his surname was Makhubo.

He said he drove with the officers to Johannesburg and went to what he believes was Buthelezi’s office.

“I could tell by the pictures on the wall that we were in Buthelezi’s office… She told me that some officers were fetching Tumelo and others were fetching Kelly.”

Instead, two men he had never seen before he arrived around 10pm.

He said the men took turns assaulting him and asked him why he killed Meyiwa.

“They just kept assaulting me and they told me I would eventually confess to what they were accusing me of. I was screaming as they assaulted me,” he said.

Thwala said the men went a step further and tied his hands at the back together with his feet.

Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela had to briefly adjourn the session to give Thwala time to compose himself as he was in tears.

Upon his return, Thwala went into detail of how he was tortured “mercilessly”.

“They then put this mat under my private part, and while they held me down, they took this thing that looked like a tube and they used it to suffocate me. I thought I was going to die.

“That continued for about three or four hours. During that time, one would sleep while one was torturing me.

“They then removed this mat under me, which I had peed on, which means they knew that they needed to put that mat, because I would pee on myself during the torture,” he said.

He said after the ordeal was finished he asked the police to take him to his aunt’s place in Katlehong. Instead, he was taken to where Meyiwa was killed in Vosloorus.

He said Buthelezi forced him to change his statement on how the events unfolded on the day of the shooting.

“You jumped there,” she told me.

“No, I jumped there,” I told her.

“I kept explaining to her that I ran out of the house and jumped over the gate into this yard.”

He said Buthelezi eventually took him to Katlehong and then came back and took him to KwaZulu-Natal.

“My family kept calling me to check on my safety, they called me about 40 times. Thing is police could just shoot me and say I was the one trying to shoot. To this day, I don’t trust the police,” he said.

The matter was adjourned to Thursday.