The Year in Review 2023: All the drama that unfolded in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial

The five suspects in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial at the Gauteng North High Court. File Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

The five suspects in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial at the Gauteng North High Court. File Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Published Dec 29, 2023


The murder trial of the soccer star Senzo Meyiwa has been one of the most followed and watched cases since it started in 2022.

This year, October 26 marked exactly nine years since Meyiwa was gunned down in 2014 during an alleged botched robbery while visiting his girlfriend and mother of his child, singer Kelly Khumalo.

Five men have been accused of his murder and are standing trial at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

The case first went to trial in June 2022 and went on for almost a year until Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela was removed from the case.

His removal came after the Judicial Service Commission in April recommended that he be suspended due to his failure to deliver reserved judgments in a reasonable time.

In June 2023, Maumela was replaced by retired Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng, who came with a no-nonsense approach.

Mokgoatlheng had to start the proceedings from scratch and recall all the witnesses who had testified before.

These are some of the highlights that took place this year.

New witness

In an unexpected turn of events, a witness who was not on the list of witnesses was called to testify, and his testimony opened a Pandora's box, which led one of the five accused to make threatening gestures at the witness while testifying.

Constable Sizwe Zungu testified that he was with the murder accused on the day Meyiwa was killed.

Zungu revealed incriminating evidence, which led one of the accused, Fisokuhle Ntuli, to threaten Zungu while he was on the witness stand.

Ntuli was sternly reprimanded by Mokgoatlheng.

Meyiwa’s girlfriend was in contact with one accused

Singer Kelly Khumalo was in contact with Fisokuhle Zungu before Meyiwa was shot at her Vosloorus home in 2014.

According to a police officer who testified, Ntuli called Khumalo on at least two occasions before the soccer player’s shooting.

The officer said that Ntuli called her on August 2, 2014, as well as on October 15, 2014, with the first call lasting 110 seconds and the second lasting 96 seconds.

Ammunition and gun that killed Meyiwa were found with one of the accused

Mthobisi Mncube was linked to the gun and ammunition used during Meyiwa’s murder.

According to witnesses, Mncube is the intruder who allegedly carried a gun on the day Meyiwa was killed.

Police testified that the gun that was found in his possession was the same gun that killed Meyiwa.

The gun was also found to have been used in the murder of a taxi boss, Reggie Mohlala, in January 2015, three months after the soccer star died.

Mncube is already serving more than 30 years for Mohlala’s murder.

Two shots were fired in the house, not three

Testimonies from previous witnesses who were at the scene when Meyiwa was killed failed to reveal exactly how many shots were fired.

The number of shots was between two and three, which created confusion.

However, when Lieutenant-Colonel Chris Mangena took the stand, he said that when he inspected the scene, he discovered that only two shots were fired.

He said one shot hit a tile, and the other shot killed Meyiwa.

Bullet went out of Meyiwa’s body and landed on the kitchen counter

The bullet that struck Meyiwa was the same bullet that damaged the door as it left his body.

Mangena testified that the bullet ricocheted from the door back into the house. His testimony explained why the bullet was found on the kitchen counter.

Previously, Lieutenant-Colonel Thobeka Mhlahlo told the court that she was the one who discovered the bullet a day after the murder.

Murder accused fought with prison guard

A prison warder opened a case against three accused in the Meyiwa murder trial.

This came after three of the five accused were involved in a scuffle with an armed Correctional Services officer during a tea break on November, 27.

It started after the warder saw accused number four, Mthokoziseni Maphisa, sitting on top of a bench and asked him not to do so.

There was an exchange of words, and a physical scuffle ensued between the warder and three of the five accused.

The assault case was opened against accused number three, Mthokozisi Mncube; accused number four, Mthokoziseni Maphisa; and accused number five, Fisokuhle Ntuli.