Sangoma who 'recognised' Meyiwa accused at arrest does U-turn in court

Some of the accused had told police they consulted a sangoma, and he was brought in to the station for questioning

Five men accused of murdering the Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa appear at the high court in Tshwane. File image
Five men accused of murdering the Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa appear at the high court in Tshwane. File image

A sangoma says he cannot identify a man who consulted with him for luck and cleansing, despite apparently recognising him at a police station when he was arrested in connection with the murder of footballer Senzo Meyiwa.

Lionel Robert Zwane was called as a witness for the prosecution.

Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa and Sifisokuhle Nkani Ntuli are accused of killing the Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates football star in October 2014. They face charges of premeditated murder, attempted murder, robbery with aggravated circumstances, possession of firearms without a licence and possession of ammunition.

On Monday, Zwane told the Pretoria high court he helps people with herbal medicine in Palm Ridge Extension 4.

With his beanie in his hand, Zwane gave testimony using hand gestures and standing up at times to demonstrate.

He recalled being approached some years ago by a Sibiya, who was in the company of two other young men, to obtain medicine for luck and later coming to seek medicine for cleansing.

When asked if he knew any of the accused in court, Zwane responded: “The one that I know is Sibiya”.

Questioned again if he could identify this man among the accused in the dock, the old man took a careful look, while muttering “Sibiya” as he looked at them.

He said the Sibiya he was referring to was tall.

“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 him and say this is this one.”

Elaborating on his interaction with Sibiya, he said: “When they came to me they asked for medicine to go look for work. They were referred to me by somebody that I don’t know.”

Zwane said he gave Sibiya Inhlanhla emhlophe or “white luck” medicine to bathe with and go look for work.

When asked which year this was, Zwane said he could not recall, as he is old and illiterate.

“You have to forgive the old man, If I am asked to sign I just put a thumb there. I am illiterate. I don’t even know today’s date.”

Zwane said Sibiya paid him R500 for the medicine.

About two to three days afterwards, Sibiya came back, saying where they had gone to search for a job, there was someone who had sustained an injury.

He said as cleansing is done when one loses a family member, he gave them medicine to bathe with as they had suffered a misfortune.

“I gave them the herbal medicine for cleansing,” he said.

He said that was the last day he saw them and he had no further contact with any of them.

One day, an entourage of police officers arrived at his home at night and told him that they had arrested some young men who mentioned his name.

“The boys who were arrested said they came to you and you gave them something to go and do what they went to do. I explained to them that I do not possess items that are for evil purposes. I am a helper of people,” he said.

He said he was photographed, handcuffed and taken to a police station.

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

Prosecutor George Baloyi said they would leave the matter there and revisit it later.

During cross-examination with defence advocate Zandile Mshololo, Zwane again said he could not identify the Sibiya who consulted with him.

“Just as I am seeing you for the first time here, I cannot be able to recognise you next time [sic],” he told her.

During the tea adjournment earlier, the accused asked their lawyers to keep an eye on Zwane and Baloyi as they were allegedly standing close together. The lawyers told Baloyi he should not speak to Zwane when court was not in session.


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