South Africa

Senzo Meyiwa murder accused grilled as trial gets heated between judge and defence

Senzo Meyiwa murder trial Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya

One of the five men accused of murdering former Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa faced tough questions in court as proceedings became tense between the judge and the defence.

Accused one, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, continued with his evidence during a trial within a-trial in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Sibiya has been on the witness stand since the start of the week, giving his own side of the story regarding his arrest, alleged confession about Meyiwa’s murder, and pointing out the crime scene.

Questions about pointing out

Advocate Ronnie Sibanda, on behalf of state prosecutor George Baloyi, cross-examined Sibiya, seeking to poke holes in his testimony during court proceedings.

Sibanda honed in on the discrepancies in the accused’s evidence-in-chief about his pointing-out exercise.

The court previously heard that Sibiya voluntarily showed the police the crime scene in Vosloorus, where Meyiwa was killed, on 5 June 2020.

ALSO READ: ‘Whatever I did was to save my own life’ – Senzo Meyiwa murder accused takes witness stand

The suspect was accompanied by Colonel James Hadebe and a photographer on the day.

His attorney, Thulani Mngomezulu, however, argued that his client was tortured and assaulted by Tactical Response Team (TRT) police officers in Vosloorus before he was taken to the Alberton police station.

This claim has been disputed by the state.

On Wednesday, Sibanda questioned the accused about the version put to witnesses by Mngomezulu during the trial-within-a-trial.

Watch the trial below:

Sibiya, who allegedly confessed on the night of arrest on 30 May, 2020, maintained that he would not comment on aspects of his lawyer’s cross-examination.

“I have never said that… what I am saying is what I am telling the court now. I am not here to speak on behalf of Mr Mngomezulu, I am here to speak on my behalf,” the suspect said.

“As for me, what is important is that I am on the witness stand to come and testify on what happened. I will not be able to state on what someone had said,” he continued.

Detailing the events of 5 June, Sibiya told the court that Hadebe instructed him to do the pointing out.

“After Hadebe had instructed me at the places where I am suppose to point [out], they then took pictures of me and we went back to Alberton.”

Objection

Proceedings later became heated before lunch break after a standoff between Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng and defence lawyer Advocate Zandile Mshololo.

Mosholo had objected to Sibanda’s cross-examination regarding the day Sibiya was charged with Meyiwa’s murder.

The accused claimed, in his evidence-in-chief, that he was charged at the Vosloorus police station on 26 July, 2020.

But Sibanda argued that a notice of rights document showed he was charged by Sergeant Bathobakae Mogola on 26 October, 2020, a day before he appeared in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court in connection to Meyiwa’s murder for the first time.

The advocate then furnished Sibiya with his arrest statement to provide clarity on the charging date.

READ MORE: Senzo Meyiwa trial: Accused contradicts defence, claims no police torture

Mokgoatlheng read the statement into the record. Mshololo intervened at this point.

“I object on the basis of fairness that the witness cannot be referred to the statement that was made by the arresting officer,” she said.

The judge pointed out that Sibiya had asked to be shown the arresting statement as he was being questioned by the state.

“I read it into the record… that’s all I did and you say it’s unfair. Don’t accuse me of being a crook, I have been in this profession for 50 years. I have never been accused of being a crook,” he said.

“I am also an advocate. I’m defending the accused by raising an objection on the basis of fairness. I have a right to stand up and raise that objection. We all have different experiences,” Mshololo later replied.