After almost four months since the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, gave the “green light“ for the commencement of a trial-within-a-trial in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, the State has finally announced its last witness to take the stand.
Following the completion of the cross-examination of Pretoria Moot police station commander Colonel Karel Swanepoel yesterday, the State announced that it would be calling its last witness, a dentist, to take the stand.
Swanepoel was called by the State to give insight into two of the accused men’s claims of torture at the hands of members of the police following their arrests during 2020.
The reason for this was due to the allegation by Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, the first accused, and Bongani Ntanzi, the second accused, that they were assaulted, tortured and electrocuted by police officers to confess to Meyiwa’s murder.
However, Swanepoel told the court that upon his meeting with the accused on July 3 and 10, 2020, he saw no visible injuries or witnessed any signs of distress.
He explained to presiding judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng that police stations did not have solitary confinement cells, and that at least two officers regularly visited the cells to check on the state of arrested persons.
In instances where urgent medical attention was required he detailed how procedurally, officers were expected to either call the ambulance or alternatively send a person to be checked by a medical practitioner.
Swanepoel further told the court that officers who visited the police cells hourly were expected to check the complex, inquire with detainees about any complaints or injuries, following which the information was logged into the SAPS occurrence book.
The most startling revelations of the trial-within-a-trial to date, however, have been the evidence of lead investigator Brigadier Bongani Gininda, whose November 20, 2020, statement detailed how Sibiya and Ntanzi had told police that singer Kelly Khumalo had given instructions to shoot Meyiwa.
He also told the court how Khumalo had failed to disclose four cellphone numbers to the police, which were discovered by cellphone analysts during their investigations.
To make matters worse, he said investigations had additionally revealed that she was linked to the third accused Mthobisi Mncube and the fifth accused Fisokuhle Ntuli through one of the cellphone numbers.
As if that was not enough, he added that Khumalo’s cellphone memory album had the same photo of a see-through bag containing cash notes, in the exact position or location of Mncube.
Furthermore that communication between the Afropop singer and her sister Zandile Khumalo had indicated she (Khumalo) hated the Orlando Pirates soccer player and wanted to get rid of him from as far back as 2013.
During proceedings in November, Sergeant Bathobakae Mogola testified that upon finding Sibiya at his place in Tembisa in possession of ammunition, a magazine and cleaning rod, they could not find a firearm.
However, Mogola told the court that she took an opportunity to question Sibiya about his involvement in Meyiwa’s murder, to which he responded and that is when she realised he wanted to make admissions.
She emphasised that Sibiya had been comfortable and made the confessions willingly.
Colonel Lambertus Steyn, a data analyst and investigations officer, provided the court with the link between the five men, but most significantly that two of the men had been in contact with Khumalo.
Steyn told the court how Ntuli had contacted Khumalo on at least two separate occasions prior to the shooting of Meyiwa on October 26, 2014.
The calls were allegedly made on August 2, 2014, with the call lasting for 110 seconds, with a second call made on October 15, 2014, lasting 96 seconds.
The trial-within-a-trial continues today.