In a twist to the five-year investigation into Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa’s murder, it has now emerged that the police now believe one of the people present in the house where Senzo was gunned down, is the culprit and that everyone present lied to police about who really killed the former Orlando Pirates goalkeeper.
In a lengthy audio recording, obtained by City Press, a senior executive in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) tells a member of Meyiwa’s family that the police will again question those who were in the house at the time of Meyiwa’s murder.
The executive is heard saying that the people who were in the house when Meyiwa was gunned down lied when they made their original statements to the police in saying that a robbery had taken place.
“The crucial evidence was lost ages ago and all the witnesses who were in the house at the time of the shooting lied when they said there was an armed robbery when Senzo was fatally shot,” says the NPA executive in the recording.
“As the NPA, we suspect the shooting happened among the people who were inside the house. We need experienced police to go back and re-interview everyone who was in the house on the day Senzo was gunned down. We are not happy with their statements.”
When approached by City Press for comment, the executive declined.
Initially, the story was that an armed man and his accomplice had stormed the home of singer Kelly Khumalo – Meyiwa’s girlfriend at the time – at about 8pm on the Sunday evening of October 26 2014. A struggle ensued and one of the robbers fired his gun. A bullet struck Meyiwa in his upper body and killed him.
In the recording, the NPA executive continues: “They even said the killer was Zamokuhle Mbatha, a car washer from Khumalo’s neighbourhood. They again lied.”
This week, NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said the agency was aware of the recording. “But,” she added, “what the NPA executive told the family is the view of the NPA, and that view is well known to the police. The docket is currently with the office of the national police commissioner. The senior executive is seeking legal advice on how to deal with the issue of the audio recording.”
Many South Africans also do not believe Senzo was killed by robbers. Music producer Chicco Twala made headlines earlier last year when a Twitter user claimed his son Longwe – who was dating Kelly’s sister Zandi at the time – used his gun to shoot the footballer after an altercation.
Chicco denied his gun was used, adding that he does not believe his son pulled the trigger.
But Chicco says the six people who were in the house at the time of the shooting know what really happened.
“Someone has pulled a trigger. Someone killed Senzo on that night. These six people knew who did it. Why are they quiet? I am not buying the story about the robbery, personally. Someone knows who killed Senzo, including my son, they must be arrested if needs be,” he told Power FM in an interview.
Zandi and Kelly, who were both present at the time of the shooting, have vehemently died any involvement.
“People will think whatever they want to think. We know what happened and the police know what happened. And if people have any doubts, they will have to sort that out with the police. The police would have arrested us on the day of the incident if we were suspects,” Zandi told Move magazine in May last year.
As Senzo Meyiwa’s case hots up, this means Kelly Khumalo, her little sister Zandi Khumalo and her ex-boyfriend Longwe Twala, who is music producer Chicco Twala are all in hot soup as, under normal circumstances they should either have been arrested or separately interrogated so as to ascertain what really happened.
There is a general consensus that amongst the three of them, at least one or all of them really know who killed Senzo, if not one of them is actually the murderer.
Speaking to Power FM early last year, Chicco also said he is doubtful that a robbery took place on the day Senzo died. He added that all those who were present in the house, including his son Longwe, should come forward to reveal what really happened.
“Someone has pulled a trigger. Someone killed Senzo on that night. These six people knew who did it. Why are they quiet? I am not buying the story about the robbery, personally. Someone knows who killed Senzo, including my son, they must be arrested if needs be,” he is quoted as saying.
Senzo Meyiwa’s brother, Sifiso Meyiwa, told City Press that those who were in Khumalo’s house at the time of Meyiwa’s murder would remain suspects until proven otherwise in court.
“We are aware that the police concluded their investigation in February, as per the monthly updates they provide,” he said.
“All we are looking forward to is seeing the police arrest all those who lied in their statements and those who have defeated the ends of justice.”
In the recording, the NPA executive assures the family member that the agency “has appointed the new investigation team because the previous team failed to do its job”.
National police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said his team were working hard on the case and did not want anything to interfere with or compromise their investigations at this stage. “The national commissioner has implemented a cold case unit and we have a cold case strategy. Detectives are working hard to have a breakthrough in this case. We need more support so that this case can be resolved.”
Naidoo refused to comment on the recording, saying it was a matter between the two parties involved.
Last month, a member of the frustrated Meyiwa family flew from Durban to Johannesburg to meet with the NPA executive and gain clarity on the status of the case and why the agency and police were dragging their feet in arresting the culprits.
The family member, who cannot be named, confirmed that it was his voice in the recording. He also confirmed that the above mentioned meeting took place at the NPA’s Gauteng office.
“The family was also presented with the recording,” he added.
Mjonondwane said the NPA was not prepared to enroll cases with insufficient evidence, so as not to be found guilty of malicious prosecution and not to raise false hope for the Meyiwa family.
“The investigations in this matter are at a sensitive stage. The NPA continues to play a guiding role, and once the investigations are concluded and we are satisfied that the matter is ready for court, we will not hesitate to bring the perpetrators to book,” she said.