Johannesburg - Two of the murder accused in the Senzo Meyiwa trial have alleged that they were assaulted and tortured by the police for days and forced into signing statements implicating them in the soccer player’s killing.
This was according to Sipho Ramosepele, the legal counsel of Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, and Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, who was cross-examining the State’s first witness, Zandile Khumalo.
According to Ramosepele, Sibiya’s version was that he was arrested on May 30, 2020, after he had left his home in Tembisa to go and buy airtime at a nearby spaza shop.
After purchasing airtime, he alleged that he ran into two of his friends, who invited him to hang out with another of his friends.
It was at this point, he alleged, that officers in unmarked vehicles, some armed with rifles, approached them where they were hanging out, ordering them to lie flat on their stomachs.
Sibiya, according to the legal counsel, would testify that from May 30, 2020, up until June 5, 2020, he was assaulted and tortured by the police, who had covered his mouth, eyes and nose with a plastic bag laced with pepper spray.
Sibiya alleged that it was only after he agreed to sign the statement implicating him in the shooting and killing of Meyiwa that the torture stopped.
The following day, June 6, he alleged he was taken to his family home in KwaZulu-Natal, where he was not allowed to leave the police vehicle and rather, one by one, his father, mother and cousin were allowed to come speak to him inside the vehicle.
Even during that time, Sibiya maintained that he told each of his family members that the police had tortured him for days on end in order to get him to sign statements.
Ramosepele read out in court a similar version of what had happened to Ntanzi, who has been identified from the dock as being one of the two intruders who came into the Vosloorus home of Khumalo by the State’s witness.
"He, therefore, denies being involved in the commission of this crime."
According to the legal counsel, Ntanzi's version was that he was arrested on June 16, 2020, at Phase 2 in Rustenburg, where he worked at the mine.
"They told him they were looking for a person whose picture they showed him on a phone, and from the photo, that person had tattoos, a gold tooth, as well as the prison gang tattoo of the 28s on his arm."
Similar to Sibiya, Ntanzi also alleged he was assaulted until he signed two incriminating statements where he implicated himself, but he also denied he was involved in the shooting of Meyiwa, said Ramosepele.
Sibiya and Ntanzi are facing charges of murder, attempted murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, unlawful possession of a firearm, and unlawful possession of ammunition, alongside three other accused, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa, and Sifisokuhle Ntuli.
The trial continues today with the legal counsel for the third accused, beginning with his cross-examination of Khumalo.