Senzo Meyiwa: ‘The justice system and the police have failed us’ - murder accused’s sister
Johannesburg - Sinqobile Maphisa looked dejected as she walked out of the Boksburg Magistrate's Court on the East Rand yesterday.
Seeing her brother Mthokosizi Maphisa standing in the dock once again alongside the four other men accused of murdering soccer star Senzo Meyiwa, had left her shattered.
“It's been a really difficult time for me and my family,” a tearful Sinqobile told the Saturday Star.
For the last few months, Sinqobile has been in and out of court to show her support to her brother who she maintains is innocent.
Her brother, along with the four other alleged accomplices – Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Muzikawulahlelwa Sibiya, Mthobisi Prince Mncube and Sifikuhle Nkani Ntuli – all appeared at the magistrate’s court yesterday.
“To sit in court and hear constant lies has been extremely difficult to take,” said Sinqobile.
While all the accused all face charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, attempted murder, and possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition, Sinqobile and her family firmly believe that her brother is been framed.
“The justice system and the police have failed us. The Lord really knows who did this. I think the mastermind behind the killing is friends with the people of the law and they are accusing the wrong people.”
There have been claims of a mastermind behind Meyiwa's murder, but police have yet to pounce on the mystery person.
Yesterday the five men learnt that their pre-trial hearing would take place on July 19.
Meyiwa was gunned down in what was described as a botched robbery in Vosloorus, east of Johannesburg, in the presence of his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo, her mother Ntombi, sister Zandi, Zandi’s boyfriend Longwe Twala, his friends Mthokozisi Twala and Tumelo Madlala, and their son, who was 4 years old at the time.
Sinqobile also claims that her brother has been tortured by police officials during his time in jail.
“I had to contact the media to let them know of the torture, eventually it stopped.”
Meanwhile, the case took yet another dramatic twist yesterday when it was revealed that one of the accused, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, had dropped his lawyer for allegedly trying to force him to confess to a crime he says he didn't commit. He wants to apply for Legal Aid.
When the five appeared in court for the first time, they refused to stand in the dock, claiming that they had nothing to do with the soccer star’s death.
“The people who are supposed to be in court are not appearing because they have money,” Maphisa told the court at the time.
AfriForum, who represents the Meyiwa family in the case against the five accused, has also accused the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) of failing to arrest the alleged mastermind behind the murder of Meyiwa.
Advocate Gerrie Nel, head of AfriForum’s private prosecution unit, said the NPA’s failure to act against the alleged mastermind was of “grave” concern.
“This person allegedly contracted assassins to commit the murder. The current charge does not allow for the deduction to be made that Meyiwa was killed during the execution of an assassination. It is therefore irrational to transfer the case at this stage to the high court.
“AfriForum’s private prosecution unit assisted the investigation team throughout and has sympathy with their frustration about the NPA’s unwillingness to charge the suspect and add the person to the charge sheet.
“The perception has already been created that this person is being protected from prosecution – and the current unwillingness of the prosecutor to charge this person reinforces this perception,” Nel said.
AfriForum said the public deserved competent, rational and fair action by the prosecuting authority, without any political interference.
“This is one of the reasons why AfriForum is involved in the case. We owe it to society to ensure that the NPA prosecutes without fear, favour or prejudice,” said AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel.
Meyiwa’s sisters, Zama and Nomalanga, said all the family wanted was justice for their brother.
“We want justice for the death of Senzo and expect the law enforcement authorities to charge and bring before the court parties against whom there is evidence,” Zama told the media.
“The family is grateful that AfriForum is supporting us in this case to ensure that justice – for which we have been waiting for seven years – eventually prevails.”
A handful of supporters had gathered outside the courthouse yesterday to show support for Meyiwa.
Among them was Anna Tshabalala, a member of the Orlando Pirates supporters club from Tembisa.
Tshabalala, an elderly woman, stood in the sun for hours to show her support for the goalkeeper.
“It’s been several years now since Senzo was killed and the family are still waiting for justice. Senzo’s father died as a result of the stress he had to take when his son had died. He will never know who really killed his son and that's heartbreaking.”
Tshabalala labelled the police “pathetic”.
“How can it take over seven years to figure out who is behind Senzo’s murder? Now it almost seems like they have arrested some guys just to appease the public.”
Goolam Mohamed was also there to show support for Meyiwa.
“The culture of crime has crept in and our South African police aren't the investigative type. People do want what they want to do.”
Mohamed blames the “incompetency of police” for the failure to bring justice to the Meyiwa family.
“We need to bring the criminals who did this to book. It’s costing the state money, and our tax money is being used. This case has run for seven years now and that is ridiculous.
“And the ones to blame are the police. If the police had properly done their job, the ones responsible for Senzo’s murder would have been long behind bars.”