Breakthroughs and new allegations: Inside Senzo Meyiwa's murder case in 2020

29 December 2020 - 15:00
Senzo Meyiwa was shot dead in 2014 in Vosloorus at the home of his then-girlfriend, singer and actress Kelly Khumalo. The shooting was an alleged botched armed robbery.
Senzo Meyiwa was shot dead in 2014 in Vosloorus at the home of his then-girlfriend, singer and actress Kelly Khumalo. The shooting was an alleged botched armed robbery.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

The murder of former Bafana Bafana star Senzo Meyiwa was again thrown into the spotlight this year after breakthroughs and new allegations in the investigations into his death.

Meyiwa was shot dead in 2014 in Vosloorus at the home of his then-girlfriend, singer and actress Kelly Khumalo. The shooting was an alleged botched armed robbery.

Over the years there have been conflicting reports surrounding the circumstances of Meyiwa's death.

Here is a timeline of what happened this year.

Breakthrough

Six years after the murder of the  former Orlando Pirates goalkeeper, police made a breakthrough in their investigations.

According to a News24 report, police found the weapon that killed Meyiwa and identified a 30-year-old man as his alleged killer. The man is reportedly serving a 30-year jail term for the murder of a Johannesburg taxi boss.

The report also stated the team investigating Meyiwa’s case had interviewed the prisoner believed to be linked to the  soccer player’s murder.

Family not aware

Meyiwa’s brother Sifiso told TimesLIVE that despite receiving regular updates from the police, they were not aware of the latest reported developments in the case.

“They [police] last updated us a week ago, but I can't get into the details of it because they said it might jeopardise the case. They have never mentioned anything about a gun being found,” Sifiso said at the time.

Police minister can't confirm nor deny 

At the height of the breakthrough claims, police minister Bheki Cele said if the gun was found, it should be used to solve the case but it was not worth making news.

“The gun found shouldn't make the news. It should finalise and resolve the case,” he said.

“It's a pity you have to answer things for which you are not responsible. I heard  it was leaked so how do you expect a minister to answer on leaked issues? I will leave them leaked,” he said.

Suspects arrested

In October, five suspects were arrested in connection with Meyiwa's murder.

Cele said the arrests were made in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. He said more arrests would take place.

The minister said the cold case unit was working around the clock to arrest those responsible for Meyiwa's murder.

“These arrests are the start of bringing closure to the Meyiwa family,” Cele said.

Police commissioner Gen Khehla Sitole said the breakthrough came when the team of investigators discovered the firearm that killed Meyiwa.

“What is key is the ballistic evidence relating to the firearm,” said Sithole.

“We have been looking for the firearm for the duration of the investigation. We have found the weapon and it has been connected to the crime scene.”

Suspects deny involvement 

TimesLIVE reported that some of the five suspects, who appeared in court with their feet shackled, refused to enter the dock, saying they had nothing to do with the murder.

Muzikawulahlelwa S’tembu Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokosizeni Ziphozonke Maphisa and Sifikuhle Nkani Ntuli appeared at the Boksburg magistrate’s court.

Mncube, Maphisa and Ntuli said they did not see the need to apply for bail as they were in custody for other cases.

Khumalo allegedly linked to the murder

An alleged confidential National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) document leaked on social media was claimed to link Khumalo to the murder case.

Point 6 in the document, allegedly a letter from the NPA to the investigating officer in the case, Col Bongani Gininda, instructs police: “Cellphone records of Ms Kelly Khumalo indicating her communication with the accused must be obtained, as previously indicated.”

However, Khumalo's legal team said the singer was not implicated nor charged in this matter and was therefore not a suspect.

Khumalo's legal representative said: “We wish to place it on record that our client is not implicated nor charged in this matter and is therefore not a suspect.”

Missing bullet casings

After what seemed like a successful breakthrough, police said missing bullet cartridges and witness accounts of what happened when Meyiwa was shot dead were the missing pieces.

Sunday Times Daily reported that a source close to the investigation said since police recovered the alleged murder weapon, a CZ-75 9mm pistol, at Cleveland police station in Johannesburg in August, a team of senior detectives was re-examining the statements of those who witnessed the murder in 2014.

The gun was meant to have been destroyed by police in 2017 after the successful prosecution of the killer of Alexandra taxi boss Reggie Mohlala, but it was not destroyed.

Mohlala was killed three months after Meyiwa was murdered, with sources saying the same weapon had been used in three murders before Meyiwa’s was killed.

Tombstone unveiling 

Meyiwa's tombstone was unveiled in Chesterville, KwaZulu-Natal on November 10.

Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune has described his friendship with Meyiwa as one of the greatest things.

Speaking at another ceremony at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Khune said, “We’ll always remember you Senzo. Rest in peace for us and I hope we get justice very soon.”

It was later discovered, on Christmas Day, that the tombstone had been vandalised.

Senzo’s brother Sfiso Meyiwa said the family was disappointed by the incident.

"Some people are heartless. But we are going to open a case so that police will investigate. Their intention was to vandalise not to steal, but God will reveal these people."

Case postponed to 2021

At a court appearance in November, the murder case was postponed to March 5.

One of the accused, Mncube, spoke over the magistrate, wanting to be afforded the opportunity to address the court and the media.

Speaking in isiZulu, he accused the court of playing games and maintained his innocence.

His request was denied.

Sifiso Meyiwa said the postponement gave the family hope  the police were coming up with more information that could lead to a stronger case.

He said his mother, Ntombifuthi, was not coping well with the delays and wanted justice to be served.


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