Johannesburg - Senzo Meyiwa could not have lived for longer than a few minutes or seconds after he was shot at close range on October 26, 2014.
Retired principal specialist pathologist Dr Johannes Steenekamp, stationed at the Germiston mortuary, told the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, yesterday that he performed an autopsy examination on soccer star Meyiwa on October 28, 2014, just two days after he was shot.
The pathologist told the court that he found Meyiwa in a white bloodstained shirt, a white vest, and a blue tracksuit. This was because consultation with the investigators and ballistics indicated the clothes were not needed in their investigations.
Steenekamp told the court Meyiwa’s stomach contained “500ml of partially digested food material in which rice, vegetable matter and fragments of meat could still be identified”.
Of the injuries sustained by the soccer player, Steenekamp said that from his examination, he deduced that the firearm was held against the victim at close range.
He explained to the court that the bullet would have gone through his body in milliseconds as a result.
“The track of this wound passes downwards, backwards from the front, and laterally, away from the midsection of the body. When the bullet hit and entered, he would have started bleeding immediately. As long as his heart was beating, he was bleeding out into the cavity.
“It (the bullet) perforated the sternum on the right at the level of rib three, showing blackening of the outer aspect as well as inverted bone fragments over the inner aspect of this bone. The perforation measures a cm in diameter, enlarging towards the inner aspect of the sternum where the inverted bone fragments are noted.”
During his examination, Steenekamp said Meyiwa’s right chest cavity contained 1.7ml of blood, which came as a result of internal blood loss from the heart as well as the lungs in that area flowing to the chest cavity, resulting in the left lung collapsing.
He said the cause of death was consistent with a bullet wound to the chest involving the heart and the lung.
“According to the history provided, he was shot in the identified home; thereafter, he was taken to the hospital, where he was certified dead. No treatment was given to him in the hospital.”
During the cross-examination by advocate Zandile Mshololo, Steenekamp conceded that the trajectory of the bullet wound could indicate that the shooter was taller than Meyiwa, who was reportedly 1.77m tall.
According to State witnesses so far, Meyiwa was shot at the Vosloorus home of his then-girlfriend, Kelly Khumalo, after two intruders came in demanding cellphones and money.
A scuffle allegedly took place between the intruders and Meyiwa, Khumalo, her sister Zandile Khumalo, their mother Ntombi Khumalo, and Meyiwa’s childhood friend Tumelo Madlala, which resulted in the soccer player sustaining a shot in the chest area.
To date, five men, Mthobisi Mncube, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthokoziseni Maphisa and Sifisokuhle Ntuli, have been arrested and are on trial for the murder of Meyiwa.
The State was expected to call in a ballistic expert today.