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Senzo Meyiwa: Mthokozisi Thwala’s testimony tainted by TV coverage, say lawyers

The five man accused of the murder of Senzo Meyiwa. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

The five man accused of the murder of Senzo Meyiwa. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 12, 2023


Pretoria - The legal counsels of the five men on trial for the 2014 murder of Senzo Meyiwa have accused the soccer player’s childhood friend of tailoring his evidence after watching the trial proceedings and the evidence given by others broadcast on TV.

Advocate Zithulele Nxumalo, on behalf of the fourth accused Mthokoziseni Maphisa, wasted no time pointing out how different Mthokozisi Thwala’s version of events was in comparison to the evidence collected by the police, other occupants inside the house and neighbours statements on what exactly happened the fateful night Meyiwa was killed.

Nxumalo began and finished his cross-examination yesterday after advocate Charles Mnisi concluded his cross-examination on behalf of Mthobisi Prince Mncube, the third accused, shortly before the lunch adjournment.

Firstly the legal counsel questioned Thwala as to why his evidence and the various statements made by himself in 2014 and in 2015 to the police were not similar.

Thwala however indicated that he was informed by the police to contact them should he remember anything else about that night or to rectify the statements, due to the fact that everything happened so fast.

He maintained that he would not be able to describe the type of firearm held by the intruder despite the evidence of the sketch artist stating he submitted that the gun used was an old revolver.

He told the court that no one knew how difficult the past nine years have been for him following the death of Meyiwa, after he was taken to task for laughing alongside the rest of the courtroom.

Nxumalo then informed the court that the statement made by Warrant Officer Mohlahlo indicated that blood spots were found in the living area next to the TV stand, meaning that the scuffle between Meyiwa and the intruder happened in the living area and not in the kitchen as Thwala testified.

Secondly he read out the statement of Kelly Khumalo that detailed how her mother, Meyiwa, Thwala as well as Tumelo Madlala, another childhood friend, were struggling with the gunman.

Khumalo’s statement also placed the scuffle with the intruder taking place in the living area.

This while Thwala stressed during his own evidence in chief and during cross-examination by other legal counsels insisting he was not involved in fighting off the gunman.

Thwala said he would not dispute Khumalo's statement however he did not agree with how she saw things on October 26, 2014.

“I will not dispute what she (Khumalo) said but all I know is what happened to me and what I saw on that night which I testified to.”

Another statement Nxumalo read in court was that of a neighbour who stated that after he heard the two shots coming from the Khumalo home he and his son did not see anyone coming out of the kitchen door afterwards.

This as he explained that his kitchen entrance and the Khumalo home’s faced each other.

Nxumalo went as far as informing the court that Thwala was tailoring his evidence only after watching proceedings on TV.

Thwala refuted the allegation and even disputed the neighbours statements stressing that he left the Khumalo home after the first shot was fired.

Advocate Zandile Mshololo will proceed with her cross-examination today.

Pretoria News