South Africa

Senzo Meyiwa trial: Witness claims cops were more interested in Khumalos than suspects

A state witness’ cross-examination has been stood down until Monday after the trial of five men accused of murdering former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa was postponed.

The postponement was for the defence to access information from one of the accused’s phones and prepare for a new witness to take the stand.

Cop under fire

Police constable Sizwe Skhumbuzo Zungu came under scrutiny this week for allegedly withholding information for “four or five years” which could have helped solve Meyiwa’s murder much earlier.

His evidence has placed all the accused in the trial at a hostel in Vosloorus on the day Meyiwa was shot and killed at his then-girlfriend Kelly Khumalo’s family home on 26 October 2014.

The police officer had spent the day with his nephew, Gwabini Zungu, who lived at the hostel, when he was introduced to the suspects.

Zungu testified during his cross-examination on Tuesday he saw two of the five men accused of killing Meyiwa carrying guns on the day, but he didn’t make any arrests nor did he report the information to the police.

ALSO READ: ‘This is going to haunt you’: Witness slammed for ‘withholding’ information about Senzo Meyiwa’s murder

The witness had also revealed he had a meeting with his commander, General Vincent Leshabane, who said he would conduct his own investigations into Meyiwa’s killing, in 2018 or 2019.

However, he did not tell Leshabane he was at the hostel with the five men because he was not certain the accused actually committed the crime.

Zungu further indicated Leshabane told him to not discuss the issue for his own safety, as there had allegedly been attempts to kill him.

He also did not divulge any details to investigating officer, Brigadier Bongani Gininda when he was asked whether he had information about the murder in November 2019.

Another meeting

Continuing to question the witness in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday, defence lawyer Advocate Zandile Mshololo focused on another meeting Zungu had with police officers Colonel Joyce Buthelezi and Warrant Officer Meshack Makhubo.

The meeting took place in Kempton Park in 2019.

According to Zungu, his colleagues mainly questioned him about the Khumalo family.

“What did you tell Colonel Buthelezi? Did you tell what transpired on the 26th? That’s what I want to know,” Mshololo said.

“Colonel Buthelezi did not ask me a lot about the suspects… her emphasis was more on the Khumalo family. I said to her I’m not related to Khumalos and that they are unknown to me,” Zungu responded.

READ MORE: ‘I can’t be friends with criminals’, cop tells court in Senzo Meyiwa trial

“Did you tell Colonel Buthelezi that you had important information about the suspects in this matter?” Mshololo asked.

“I told her that I knew the suspects. She did not ask about the description… there isn’t much that I relayed to her. Colonel Buthelezi didn’t have much interest in the suspects but she had the inclination to ask me about the Khumalo family,” Zungu said.

Mshololo then asked whether Zungu had told Buthelezi about seeing the accused exchange firearms with Gwabini in his room.

“No, as I have said, she was not interested in that,” the witness said.

Zungu added a statement was not taken by the two officers.

Watch the proceedings below:

Adjournment

Following a short break, prosecutor George Baloyi revealed that the state intended to call a cellphone analyst, who was expected to testify on data downloaded from the phones of accused two and five.

Baloyi said the analyst’s report was only received on Friday and then given to the defence on Monday.

Mshololo asked for two days to go through the downloads from her client’s phone and highlighted that she still needed to finish cross-examining Zungu.

She pointed out that she had asked for the downloads before the two-week recess, but had not received them from the state.

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“I will not be able to attend court and go through this information. I can’t be proceeding with something when other evidence is led,” Mshololo said.

Mncube’s lawyer, Advocate Charles Mnisi told the court he was unhappy with information from the state was coming in “dribs and drabs”, saying it was prejudicial.

“That’s very burdensome… and it affects the manner in which we would normally prepare for the trial,” Mnisi said.

In light of the circumstances, Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng adjourned the trial and will resume on Monday to conclude Zungu’s cross-examination.