The South African Police Service (SAPS) management has confirmed that the former legal counsel that was recused by one of the five men currently on trial for the murder of Senzo Meyiwa had been dishonourably discharged from the service.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe said the police wanted to place it on record that Ntokozo Mjiyako had indeed been a member of the police service.
Mathe said that at the time of the officer’s resignation the police had initiated disciplinary proceedings after allegations that he was a suspect in a robbery with a firearm case that was possibly linked to a truck hijacking.
Mathe said: “He resigned before finalisation of the disciplinary case. This is regarded as a dishonourable discharge. The individual is no longer a member of the SAPS and no further comment will be provided on this matter.”
The questions regarding Mjiyako’s role surfaced during the cross-examination of lead investigator Bongani Gininda by advocate Zandile Mshololo, the legal counsel for Sifisokuhle Ntuli, after she requested to assist co-accused's Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya and Bongani Ntanzi in the trial-within-a-trial over the admissibility of confession statements made by the men.
During proceedings yesterday, Mshololo threw a spanner in the works as she questioned if Gininda knew that the legal counsel representing Ntanzi was working in the same unit he was.
Mshololo, revealed in court that according to Mjiyako’s CV, he was a captain working in legal support roles in the transnational commercial crimes and crime intelligence unit from 2010 to 2016.
Despite this revelation, Gininda told the court that he and the alleged former member were not acquaintances and that he had never worked with him.
The lead investigator further stressed that he had never come across Mjiyako, nor had he interacted with him in any way.
Questions regarding Mjiyako, were brought to the fore as it was previously revealed in court by advocate Thulani Mngomezulu that Mjiyako had been the legal counsel representing Ntanzi in 2020. However, Ntanzi had terminated his representation as his counsel.
Mngomezulu told the court Ntanzi had made the request during his previous appearances in a another court, with one of the reasons provided being that he no longer wanted to utilise him as his counsel as he allegedly wanted him to confess to the 2014 murder of Meyiwa in Vosloorus.
The State is expected to call its final witness in the trial-within-a-trial.