KZN hitman’s moves in Senzo Meyiwa courtroom raise brows, judge issues warning

Five men accused of murdering Bafana Bafana star Senzo Meyiwa in 2014 are being tried in the Pretoria high court. File photo.
Five men accused of murdering Bafana Bafana star Senzo Meyiwa in 2014 are being tried in the Pretoria high court. File photo.
Image: Antonio Muchave

The prosecution has asked the court to warn the accused standing trial for the murder of soccer star Senzo Meyiwa not to interfere with witnesses, stating this might amount to contempt of court.

Before proceedings started on Friday, state advocate George Baloyi brought the attention of the court to a video clip from the live feed on Thursday during the testimony of state witness Const Sizwe Skhumbuzo Zungu.

In the clip, Sifisokuhle Nkani Ntuli [in a blue top and seated behind the woman shown in the footage] is seen muttering while making a gesture which could be that of pulling a trigger. 

“We want the court to admonish the accused that this conduct might constitute contempt of court in facie curiae,” said Baloyi.

Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng asked Ntuli what he intended to convey to the witness through the gestures.

Ntuli responded: “I don't remember what it is we were talking about because there is a lot we were talking about.”

The person being referred to, (the witness) I couldn't see him. He was obscured by the interpreter.”

His defence lawyer Zandile Mshololo said she had consulted with Ntuli.

“When I asked him what he was doing, he denied he was referring to the witness when he spoke with the gesture depicted,” Mshololo said.  

However, Baloyi said a gesture of the pulling of a trigger could be seen on the footage.

“To me that is very serious.”

He asked the court to bring it to the attention of the accused that interference with the witness might amount to contempt of court in facie curiae and the accused should desist from such conduct.

Mshololo told the court witnesses should be warned for the same conduct. She referred to an incident when state witness Tumelo Madlala allegedly insulted the accused. This is a reference to a break in his testimony last month when an emotional Madlala referred to the accused as dogs whose actions meant they deserved to be arrested.

The judge warned all the accused to desist from such conduct and said no gestures should be directed at witnesses while they are testifying.

Mokgoatlheng, who said he knew all the “tricks” of a courtroom, referred to an incident he noted this week during the testimony of Jack Buthelezi, a witness who testified he had lived with accused number two, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi.

He implied there were some intimidating gestures made when Buthelezi made a U-turn on in his testimony.

“I saw it,” Mokgoatlheng said.

During evidence, Buthelezi said: “He said they were at a party in the company of his friends, Maphisa and them. They injured Meyiwa. They killed Meyiwa.”

However, during cross-examination by defence lawyers Mshololo and Sipho Ramosepele, he changed his evidence, stating Ntanzi had said: “I am arrested because it is being said that I killed Senzo.”

All the accused are serving jail time for other crimes.

Their arrest came after a police cold case unit took over the Meyiwa investigation.

Ntuli, who is serving multiple terms of life imprisonment for political killings in KwaZulu-Natal, is on trial with Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube and Mthokoziseni Maphisa for the murder of the Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates footballer. They face charges of premeditated murder, attempted murder, robbery with aggravated circumstances, possession of firearms without a licence and possession of ammunition.

When Meyiwa was killed in October 2014 he was at the home of his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo. The singer, her mother Ntombi, sister Zandile, Zandile’s boyfriend Longwe Twala and Meyiwa's friends Mthokozisi Twala and Tumelo Madlala, were relaxing over a Sunday meal and a soccer match.

One theory is that Meyiwa died after being shot during a scuffle with a robber but advocate Gerrie Nel from AfriForum, which helped in the latter half of investigations, called it an assassination. 

The trial continues.


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