The first expert witness in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial is expected to take the stand on Monday in the high court in Pretoria.
The celebrated Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper was gunned down in October 2014 in what was described as a botched robbery in Vosloorus, east of Johannesburg. He was in the presence of his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo, her mother Ntombi, sister Zandi, Zandi’s boyfriend Longwe Twala and his friends Mthokozisi Twala and Tumelo Madlala. Kelly’s two children — one of whom was four and the other, whom she shared with Meyiwa, was just seven months old — were also present at the time.
Prosecutor George Baloyi told the court one of the experts would detail how Meyiwa likely sustained that fatal wound.
“The chest wound is consistent with the contact bullet entrance wound. The wound at the back is consistent with the exit back wound with a downward trajectory,” Baloyi told the court.
He said the ballistic expert will confirm that this was a contact shot and that the shooter was probably in front of the deceased and the gun was against Meyiwa’s chest at a downward angle when he was shot.
The October 2014 shooting occurred in Mzamo section, extension 11 in Vosloorus, in the house that belonged to the mother of his girlfriend, Kelly Khumalo.
Setting the scene, Baloyi said: “They were all watching TV in the lounge, enjoying themselves at the house when the attackers struck in the evening demanding cellphones and money. The deceased was fatally shot in the kitchen. He was rushed in his own car driven by Kelly Khumalo to the nearby hospital in Botshelong where he was declared dead on arrival,” he said.
According to the charge sheet, two people entered the house armed with a firearm and knife at about 8pm on October 26 2014. They demanded money and cellphones.
“A scuffle ensued between Meyiwa and the person armed with a firearm, who had dreadlocks, a gold slit on one of the teeth and was wearing a khaki coloured jacket. A shot was discharged, hitting the floor and splinters struck Zandi on the right ankle.
“A second shot went off and Meyiwa was then shot once in the chest while in a standing position and the bullet went through his chest, body and exited at his back and it hit the back of the door that Meyiwa was standing against. This was a contact shot,”
Three shots were discharged in total, according to the indictment.
Five men — Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa and Sifisokuhle Nkani Ntuli — have been charged with premeditated murder, attempted murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, possession of firearms without a licence and possession of ammunition.
On Friday, as the trial got under way, the five pleaded not guilty to all five counts.
Meanwhile, Baloyi indicated the state had about 15 witnesses to call to the stand. This included police officers who responded to the scene, pathologists, neighbours and ballistic experts.
“Evidence will also be led that he (Sergeant Mosia) also collected a bullet fragment on the kitchen floor, this will also be included in the photo album. The scene was revisited again on the morning of October 27 2014 by the very same sergeant and he was accompanied by a warrant officer who is now a colonel, who is attached to Gauteng crime scene management.
“Both conducted forensic investigations on the scene with Mosia taking swabs at certain places in the house for purposes of DNA testing while the colonel took photos,” he said.
An album showing the dry and wet swabs and the results will be handed in as court exhibits.
“The DNA evidence will show where the bloodstains of the deceased were found, which will in turn show where there deceased was shot and where he moved. He was shot in the kitchen and collapsed in the TV room. The state will lead evidence that they found a spent bullet in the kitchen unit top near the kitchen door behind some glass jars,” he said
Baloyi said both the fragmented bullet found on the kitchen floor and the spent bullet were sent for ballistic examination in Silverton.
He said the fragmented bullet was damaged and the state will seek to prove through ballistic experts that the spent bullets found near the kitchen door matched the firearm that was found in the possession of accused three — Mncube — in the room which he occupied with his girlfriend in Malvern.
Baloyi said the ballistic expert will present a chart to the court indicating the matching characterising.
As per agreement, the case was postponed to April 25 as the state felt there was insufficient time to start leading evidence of its first witness on Friday.
The court, however was informed that accused three in the matter, Mncube, claimed to have been assaulted and tortured several times while behind bars.
His legal representative, Advocate Malesela Teffo raised concerns in court, saying the most recent assault occurred last week and was allegedly by a correctional officer.
Teffo told the court that though the officer didn’t have a name tag on, his client would be able to identify him.
Teffo said they have opened a case and he attempted to plead with the court to have his client moved to the Johannesburg correctional facility, adding that it seemed like he was brought to the Kgosi Mampuru facility in Pretoria so he could be tortured.