‘Police cooked the evidence after Longwe killed Senzo Meyiwa’

The defence in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial has accused investigators of cooking evidence and orchestrating a cover-up.

Advocate Thulani Mngomezulu, representing the first accused, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, made these startling claims during the proceedings at the Pretoria High Court on Monday.

Mngomezulu suggested that the person who shot and killed Meyiwa is not among the five men in the dock.

Meyiwa was gunned down at his then-girlfriend Kelly Khumalo’s family home in Vosloorus, east of Johannesburg, in October 2014.

Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Mncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa, and Fisokuhle Ntuli are currently on trial for his murder. They have all entered pleas of not guilty.

Previously, the court heard from witnesses that two intruders invaded the Khumalo home and demanded cellphones and money on that fateful night.

A scuffle erupted, leading to Meyiwa’s death, they said.

Dispute between lovers

However, Mngomezulu has alleged that Meyiwa was killed during a dispute involving Longwe Twala, the son of musician Chicco Twala, and his then-girlfriend Zandie Khumalo.

The pair was present at the house when Meyiwa died, along with singer Khumalo, her mother and children, and Meyiwa’s friends Tumelo Madlala and Mthokozisi Thwala.

According to the defence, witnesses described a scene where Twala, in a drunken state, wielded a .38 special revolver, resulting in three shots being fired.

Meyiwa was fatally shot, and Twala injured himself in the ankle. Zandie was also wounded.

The defence lawyer further claimed that crucial evidence, including ballistic analysis, was manipulated by investigators to protect certain individuals.

Mngomezulu criticised the investigation conducted by Sergeant Batho Mogola, who was on the stand on Monday, and one of the officers involved, stating that it was “far from the truth” and failed to consider alternative scenarios.

Investigation’s integrity questioned

In response to these allegations, Mogola vehemently defended the investigation’s integrity, asserting that the evidence presented in court was not fabricated.

“I view that as an insult when you say we have cooked,” Mogola said.

“We are not bored with cooking something and presenting it before the court of law. We’re here for the evidence to be tried.”

However, Mngomezulu pressed on, questioning why statements from Meyiwa’s family were not obtained during the initial investigation phase.

He also introduced a statement from a traditional healer, Nompilo Sangweni, alleging spiritual revelations implicating Twala in the shooting.

“I saw he had the spirit of a dead person and that person was appearing to me as a male, dark in complexion and wearing white clothes,” according to the traditional healer’s statement.

The defence’s claims intensified with the introduction of a statement from Sifiso Meyiwa, Senzo’s brother, alleging that Irvin Khoza, the chairman of the Orlando Pirates, had informed him that the slain soccer star was not shot by intruders but was a victim of a domestic dispute.

Plan to call Kelly to the stand

“Mr Irvin Khoza told me in 2014 that the story that robbers entered the house and shot my brother was not true. It was a story given to the media, but it was not the real story,” according to Sifiso’s statement.

“I would like to state that Mr Irvin Khoza told me that Senzo Meyiwa, my brother, was not shot by robbers. These were the actual words of Mr Irvin Khoza.

“Senzo Meyiwa was not shot by intruders. He was shot by mistake; there was a fight between Zandie and her boyfriend.

“I would like this matter to be investigated as to who told Mr Irvin Khoza this as to what happened inside the house when my brother was killed.”

Khoza, however, has submitted a statement refuting this version of events, the court heard.

Mngomezulu has announced plans to subpoena Khumalo and Longwe’s father to testify in court.

Despite the state’s reluctance to call Khumalo to the stand, Chicco Twala remains on the witness list.

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