Pretoria - Forensic officer Sergeant Thabo Mosia has conceded that the Vosloorus home of Kelly Khumalo’s mother, in which soccer star Senzo Meyiwa was killed, was cleaned and tampered with before the arrival of the police.
Mosia made the startling revelation during cross-examination by advocate Zandile Mshololo in the North Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, as the Meyiwa murder trial resumed yesterday.
Mshololo continued her cross-examination by shining the spotlight once again on Mosia’s competence. She submitted that he failed to collect valuable evidence at the scene and questioned when he had acquired his qualifications.
She requested that the officer bring copies of his qualifications to court, but the bombshell was dropped when a number of witness statements were read out in court detailing how the scene had been cleaned up before the police’s arrival.
According to two witnesses, who cannot be named, the three of them went into the house as they wanted to see what had happened.
The statements read out by Mshololo also alleged that Maggie Phiri started to pick up the empty beer bottles on the floor and also suggested that they clean the house before the police arrived.
The witness said her mother asked Phiri why she was removing the beer bottles, to which she replied that she did not want the police to see that the occupants of the house had been drinking beer.
Phiri was named by advocate Malesela Teffo last week as one of the suspects in the second police docket he had informed the court about.
The witnesses also indicated that there were two contingencies of police who attended to the scene – with the first not securing or cordoning off the scene.
Mosia said he understood that as a result of the witness statements it was evident that the crime scene had been cleaned and that the possibility of evidence being planted was evident.
Earlier Teffo attempted to force the court into a trial-within-a-trial, as promised on Friday.
Teffo, the defence counsel for accused one to four, got the cross-examination of Mosia by Mshololo paused as he formally submitted a special plea for a trial-within-a-trial to be entertained.
The matter had to be paused briefly as the State, and both defence counsels, went to thrash out issues in Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela's chambers.
Upon their return to the courtroom, Teffo was allowed to proceed with his application despite assertions by the State and Mshololo that she should first be allowed to complete her cross-examination of Mosia.
State prosecutor George Baloyi commented that the correct order would be to allow the cross-examination of Mosia by Mshololo, which was midway, to take its course and thereafter deal with the issues raised in the special plea.
He also highlighted the concern for Mosia’s health as the court had to adjourn early on Friday because he complained of fatigue.
Despite this, Teffo launched into the contents of his special plea where he once again raised issues surrounding the constitutionality of the alleged confessions made by the first and second accused, namely Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya and Bongani Ntanzi.
Once more he stressed that Sibiya and Ntanzi’s alleged confessions were obtained after the men were severely assaulted by police officers from the police stations they were moved around to.
“My clients were profusely assaulted until they bled and these confessions were obtained after the third assault.
“They (Sibiya and Ntanzi) were moved around as a piecemeal for the police who assaulted them with batons and even suffocated them with tubes in almost apartheid-era tactics,” he said.
According to Teffo, the men were forced to confess to Meyiwa’s murder even though they were in Mahlabatini and Nongoma in KwaZulu-Natal at the time of the crime.
He alleged that in Sibiya’s case things were much worse as he was forced to point out places he did not know of and even implicate the other accused.
Teffo also questioned the issue of two case dockets by the police with different theories and suspects.
In giving his decision, Judge Maumela highlighted how Mshololo rose up several times in court and chambers pleading for protection to finish her cross-examination of Mosia.
He said the court had also been pushed on Friday to entertain this matter, which started to shake the authority of the courts in conducting proceedings.
Both advocates Baloyi and Mshololo were reportedly of the view that the issues Mosia was there to testify about did not hinge on the confessions being alluded to by Teffo at this stage.
“As I sit here I have no substantive application before me as I, too, received submissions this morning and all I could do was to browse over the submissions and cannot say I have done justice going through them.
“After listening to all parties the court finds for Mshololo to continue with cross-examination but we are also open to the possibility and will be watching this space in terms of what the State does.”
Judge Maumela added that should the State seek to bring before court or desire to persuade the court to rely on any confessions, the way would then be open for anyone affected by them to address those issues.
The matter resumes today.