Cops link Meyiwa accused through their cellphones

There was communication vice versa between all trialist, says analyst

Koena Mashale Journalist
Some of the accused in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial.
Some of the accused in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial.
Image: Thulani Mbele

The state has established that there was substantial communication between the five men accused of killing soccer star Senzo Meyiwa.

This was confirmed through cellphone numbers police believe belong to Bongani Ntanzi, Fisokuhle Ntuli, Mthokoziseni Maphisa, Mthobisi Mncube and Muzi Sibiya. 

Cellphone data analyst Gedeon Gouws revealed during his testimony in the Pretoria high court yesterday that communication happened between all five men. Gouws said they used cellphone records from service providers, Truecaller app, credit records and common contacts to link the communication among the suspects. 

It is unclear at this stage whether the communication took place before the men's arrest or after.  The state wants to prove that the men knew one another and had kept in contact. However when they first appeared in the Boksburg magistrate's court following their arrest in 2020, the five men appeared bewildered and claimed not to know one another.

Gideon Gouws told the court yesterday that Ntuli (accused No 5) had communicated with fellow accused  Mncube and Maphisa while he was still in prison in KZN service time for other matters. 

Gouws also said the data he collected from Bongani Ntanzi's phone (accused No  2) revealed there were communications between him and all the other accused and they had common contacts called Slindo and Phuta Nkeshe.

Gouws, who had been on retirement, was asked by the team of investigators to analyse data downloaded from the phones of Ntanzi and Ntuli and to check if there was any communication between them and the other accused.

In Ntanzi's phone, Gouws said there was evidence there was communication between all the accused.. "There were two numbers that were linked to the accused. These numbers were identified by the investigation officer as the two accused in this case," said Gouws.

"The number of Ntuli, accused 5, was saved on simcard under index and marked Lungisani. This number was identified by Col [Lambertus] Steyn and it was established that this number was linked and communicated with all other accused.  Under index 75, its marked as Lungisani an under index 109, marked as Muzi [Sibiya]. These numbers were identified by the investigation officer as that of the two other accused in this case.

"There was communication vice versa between all the accused," said Gouws.

He said this information was gathered through the application of Section 205 which gives police permission to access cellphone data through service providers. 

Two downloaded pictures of guns were also found in Ntanzi's cellphone and these, according to Gouws were downloaded in March 2020. Police also found a photos of a news article about the Meyiwa murder. Gouws said Ntuli's lawyer's phone number was also identified from the extracted data.

In relation to the contents of Ntuli's phone, Gouws said the accused had received a calls from Maphisa and Mncube. 

Gouws also clarified to the court that  Ntuli's cellphone number was confirmed through the accused's credit record profile.

Last year data analyst Steyn shocked the court when he testified that Ntuli had called Meyiwa's girlfriend Kelly Khumalo week before Meyiwa was murdered. His lawyer Adv Zandile Mshololo tried to poke holes in that evidence and asked him if he had checked with any cellphone service providers if the number Ntuli allegedly used really belonged to him. Steyn said he never did. 

Gouws detailed other way that police had used to identify who the numbers belonged to including Truecaller.

However, Advocate Thulani Mngomezulu was in doubt about this information and wanted to check with his client if one can register a false name with the app.

Gouws responded: “Yes you can but why would you put a fake name on it, if I want you to know that I am calling you but instead of Peter then why would I do that.”

Mngomezulu then consulted with his client, Sibiya, and said “ My client said he does not recall having a Trucaller on the number you had just given.”

Looking annoyed Gouws responded :“If you have Trucaller, my name will show on your side. If I have a Trucaller on my phone then I can identify through it who is calling me, it doesnt matter whether or not you have it [contact number]. I can still know who is calling me.” 


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