Johannesburg - It wasn’t a hit, say police. But Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa’s death might not be the result of a botched robbery either.
Late on Monday, as shock over the murder of Meyiwa continued, a massive police investigation was under way.
Meyiwa’s killers are now the most wanted men in the country.
A multi-disciplinary police task team is hunting them, and the SAPS’s reward for information was raised to R250 000.
The police team involves national and provincial investigators, and includes Captain Chris Mangena, the ballistics expert who worked on the case against Oscar Pistorius.
Forensic experts are compiling identikits of the shooters, and crime intelligence is looking for the cellphone stolen from the house.
Meyiwa was shot dead while visiting his on-off-again girlfriend, songbird Kelly Khumalo, at her home in Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni, on Sunday night. His killers then fled with the cellphone.
Goalkeeper Meyiwa, 27, was also captain of Orlando Pirates.
He had earlier been at a birthday party for Pirates teammate Rooi Mahamutsa, but left with a friend to go to Khumalo’s house.
Despite immediate speculation on social networks of a hit connected to Meyiwa’s messy private life – the spats between his wife and Khumalo have often made headlines – police management said there was nothing to suggest this.
“There is no evidence that this was a contract killing. We continue to investigate all angles and we will be guided by the investigation,” said General Norman Taioe, of the Gauteng police.
The official story is that it was a botched break-in by three men.
National police commissioner General Riah Phiyega said that, according to reports, two people had entered the house while a third man waited outside.
Phiyega said two of the attackers were in their late twenties and the other was dark and slender with dreadlocks.
Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, who arrived at the house shortly after the shooting, said the family had told her they were all held up at gunpoint by the men, who demanded money, phones and valuables.
Nkosi-Malobane said the family had told her that the gunman was pointing his gun at the terrified Khumalo when Meyiwa stood up, apparently with the hope of protecting her.
However, he was shot in the back. The men took Khumalo’s phone and fled, disappearing into the night.
“The guys thought he was resisting when they saw him get up to protect Kelly and they shot him from the back,” Nkosi-Malobane said.
Later it was reported that Meyiwa was moving towards the door when the shots were fired.
“Senzo and his friends were leaving when the two entered the house. One of the attackers bumped into the first friend and a scuffle ensued,” said Taioe, according to Sapa.
A source close to the investigations said the forensic team were at the house to determine the distance the shots were fired from.
“It seemed as if two shots were fired inside the house and one outside. They were there to establish how the bullet hit Senzo,” said the source.
Phiyega called for help from the public.
“We are appealing sincerely to the community to assist with information. We believe that someone, somewhere, somehow knows something about this crime.
“We appeal that the person (with information) comes forward so we can do justice to the case. Anyone with information can call 0800 10111 or SMS our crime line on 32211,” said Phiyega.
However, the police have not ruled out the possibility that it may not have been a robbery.
This emerged after an Instagram message, as well as an independent person who called the Crimestop line, suggested there was more to the shooting than meets the eye.
The post on Instagram claimed that Khumalo’s sister Zandile had been fighting with her boyfriend when Meyiwa tried to intervene, but the boyfriend allegedly shot him.
Gauteng head of detectives Major-General Tebello Mosikili confirmed that police IT experts were looking into that message and were trying to get hold of the person who posted it.
Mosikili, who heads the team investigating the shooting, said they were taking this allegation seriously because there had also been a call to the Crimestop line in which someone alleged that Meyiwa did not die during a robbery. Mosikili said she did not yet know whether the person who posted the Instagram message was the one who had called.
“The team is now running with that information. Everything that is coming in now is taken seriously. We are working very hard on this and need to eliminate all allegations,” said Mosikili.