A key witness in the murder case of Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, whose testimony contributed to the arrest of five suspects, has died of suspected poisoning.
Thabang Makeleni, who in 2014 was a student living in Vosloorus, not far from singer Kelly Khumalo’s mother’s home, was poisoned late last year, a few months after he made a deposition to new investigators in which he linked the five suspects, currently charged for the murder of Meyiwa, to the scene.
Sunday World has learnt that Makeleni told the police that five people had showed up at Khumalo’s mother’s house the night Meyiwa was shot and killed.
Those who were in the house at the time of Meyiwa’s killing, according to the police were Kelly Khumalo, her mother Ntombifuthi Khumalo and sister Zandi, Chicco Twala’s son Longwe and Senzo’s cousin.
Those privy to his affidavit indicate that the witness, who hails from a rural village in Free State, told the police that two people had entered the house, but said that other people were in the yard, one at the gate and two others waiting in cars, a VW Polo and an Audi.
National police spokesperson Vish Naidoo confirmed that a witness in the Meyiwa case died of poisoning. He said the matter was being investigated by the Gauteng provincial police.
Naidoo said: “The person who was allegedly killed by poisoning was one of a few people interviewed in connection with the Senzo Meyiwa murder investigation. I am not sure how you came to the conclusion that the arrests of the five suspects resulted from his ‘statement’? Nevertheless, there has been no evidence this far suggesting that his death is in any way related to the Senzo Meyiwa murder investigation. That murder case is being dealt with by Gauteng province.”
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Sipho Ngwema also confirmed the incident but shied away from responding to questions about whether the student had been in witness protection.
Makeleni died while visiting his girlfriend. Those close to him revealed that he was found dead in another room in the house, while his girlfriend slept in a different room. “This on its own raises questions. How do you visit your girlfriend and you sleep in different rooms. Something is fishy,” said one of the sources.
Sunday World understands that Makeleni’s girlfriend was questioned by the police in relation to his death.