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Meyiwa trial: Sangoma can’t point out suspect

South Africa - Pretoria - 11 August 2023. The five accused of Senzo Meyiwa in the doc during their trial at the North Gauteng High Court. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / African News Agency (ANA)

South Africa - Pretoria - 11 August 2023. The five accused of Senzo Meyiwa in the doc during their trial at the North Gauteng High Court. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / African News Agency (ANA)

Published Sep 5, 2023


Johannesburg - A wrench was thrown in the State’s case yesterday after a sangoma who recognised the accused in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial failed to identify the men who consulted with him for luck and cleansing in court.

Lionel Robert Zwane, a sangoma from Palm Ridge Extension 4, told the court in animated actions how some years ago he was approached by a man referring to himself as Sibiya, in the company of two other young men, to obtain medicine for luck to find work.

He said the trio was referred to him by someone he did not know, but that he gave Sibiya Inhlanhla emhlophe, or “white luck”, to bathe with and go look for work.

The group paid the traditional healer R500 for the medicine.

Zwane said the same men came back after two to three days and told him that an accident had occurred during the job, with someone being injured, and they required medicine for cleansing.

According to the healer, a cleansing is done when one loses a family member, and in such instances, he gave them medicine to bathe with as they had suffered a misfortune.

After he gave them the medicine, he alleged that he had no further contact with any of them.

However, one day police officers came to his home and informed him that they had arrested some men who had mentioned him.

Zwane told the court that while he was at a police station, he saw Sibiya, who was also handcuffed, and could recognise him.

However, in court yesterday, when asked if he knew any of the accused, Zwane said he only knew of the one called Sibiya.

He did stress that the Sibiya he was referring to was tall.

When pressed for a dock identification, he took a moment to look at the accused, all the while muttering “Sibiya” as he tried to recall the man.

“I saw him only once, and then he came again at the time they were having a problem with their work. So, this Sibiya is not a person that I can with confidence point out or identify and say this is this one.”

Earlier, the court also heard the evidence of Pieter Jacobus Smuts, a legislative manager for SBV, who confirmed the stolen firearm, which was found in the possession of the third accused, Mthobisi Prince Mncube.

According to earlier testimony, Mncube was arrested in 2015 in relation to taxi violence that took place in Cleveland, Joburg.

Smuts told the court that the firearm found in Mncube’s possession was stolen during a cash-in-transit robbery that took place at the Rabie Ridge Shopping Centre in May 2013.

He said immediately after the firearm was stolen, the matter was reported to the police in Rabie Ridge.

Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa and Sifisokuhle Nkani Ntuli are accused of killing Meyiwa during an alleged botched robbery at the Vosloorus home of his girlfriend, Kelly Khumalo, on October 26, 2014.

They have pleaded not guilty to charges of premeditated murder, attempted murder, robbery with aggravated circumstances, possession of firearms without a licence and possession of ammunition.

Forensic officer Sergeant Thabo Mosia is expected to return to court today for the third time.

The Star