With the Senzo Meyiwa murder case back in the spotlight following AfriForum’s announcement last week, here is a recap of everything the witnesses have publicly said.
On Monday, October, 27, 2014, South Africans woke up to the news that Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa had been shot dead in a “failed robbery”.
The murder happened in the dark hours of Sunday at his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo’s mother’s house in Vosloorus.
According to Longwe Twala, who was in the house and had been dating Kelly’s sister Zandile at the time, and his father, music mogul Chicco Twala, there were 11 people there when Senzo lost his life: Kelly and her two children, Zandile Khumalo, Kelly’s mother Ntombi Gladness Khumalo, Longwe, Senzo, Tumelo Madlala (Senzo’s best friend), Mthokozisi Twala (relative of Senzo’s wife Mandisa) and the two robbers.
Earlier this year, a car washer from Khumalo’s neighbourhood, Zamokuhle Mbatha, filed a lawsuit against Police Minister Bheki Cele and the NPA for wrongful arrest and defamation of character after he was detained for the murder back in 2014.
Mbatha had been falsely pointed out by a witness at the identification parade. Mbatha was 25 at the time.
His lawyer Xolani Ndwandwe said his client’s dignity and safety had been put on the line and he’d lost his job while he was in jail.
Twitter account Man’s Not Barry Roux later made several explosive allegations against those who were in the house and that alleged evidence had been covered up to cover for Longwe, who was allegedly the one who pulled the trigger using his father’s gun.
The account tweeted: “Whatever amount Chicco paid you to cover up for his son Longwe and the manipulation of the crime scene is not greater than a life of a human being. Chicco Twala, I will leave you to think like a man and possibly do the right thing and admit to your carelessness. The nation will applaud you for coming out clean or else hell will break loose on you soon. Oh, Chicco Twala, I almost forgot to tell you to stop proclaiming a conspiracy against you and realise you are the reason why the coldblooded killer who killed Senzo is today walking the streets a free man.”
In an attempt to clear his name, Sunday World reported Chicco Twala launched a manhunt for the man behind the parody account. He reportedly hired a team of forensic social media experts to expose the real account holder and report him to the police for defaming him and his son, or to file a defamation lawsuit.
News24 earlier this year exposed the man apparently behind the account, but Twala appears not to have sued him. Attempts to get comment from Twala on why he has not taken action have proven unsuccessful so far.
Only Kelly, Longwe, Zandile and Chicco have ever spoken about what happened that fateful night.
Longwe Twala’s version
In an interview with Mmasechaba and Mo Flava on Metro FM in February 2018, Longwe denied being involved in Senzo’s murder and said he was “saddened” that people had accused him. He also denied using his father’s gun.
He told the station: “I’m saddened that my own people can do this to me. It was a robbery gone wrong. I was the coward of the day because I ran out when those gunmen came in and requested phones and money. I was actually the first to stand up to protect everyone not realising that the other guy also had a gun pointed at me and I actually ran out the door after he pointed the gun at me.
“I went out to look for help but it was late, neighbours were sleeping. I didn’t even have my phone because I left it at the house, I couldn’t even call the cops. A fight then broke out in the house because Senzo was protecting Kelly from the guys who were manhandling Kelly, demanding money. Senzo was protecting everyone, and that’s when the gunshot went off, I don’t think the intention was to kill Senzo. They were protecting themselves because Senzo was overpowering them and he was beating the man, and that’s when the bullet went in from the back.
“It was a time when I was dating Zandi. I came then innocently to pick her up but I stayed after she told me her mother had cooked Sunday lunch. We were eating when these two guys came in. I don’t know what happened in the house because I was not in the house at the time. All I heard was three gunshots. It was chaos after that, with us trying to bring Senzo up and driving him to hospital, only to find the sad news he had passed on. We are being investigated hardcore by the police. They took our phones. I went in for questioning.
“The criminals did not take my phone on the night because I had it in my pocket when I ran out. The police didn’t find anything. We were acquitted by the police.”
He further denied supplying drugs to Kelly and that there was a fight over drug money when Senzo was killed.
“I did not supply Kelly Khumalo with drugs. Nothing at all. At the time, I was clean from drugs. Kelly herself is off drugs so I don’t know what these people are talking about. Kelly doesn’t do drugs any more. It’s all rubbish.”
Who called the police?
“The police were there already, I don’t know who called them. I was crying because I’m an Orlando Pirates supporter myself. How can I murder my own goalkeeper? How can I murder Senzo in front of his best friend without him coming out to get me in jail? It doesn’t make sense.”
On his father’s gun being the murder weapon:
“My father is a very powerful man. My father’s got a lot to protect. My father doesn’t walk around with bodyguards. My father carries his gun 24/7. He’ll never make that mistake and leave his gun anywhere. He always has his gun on him. I respect my father, why would I take his gun and mess around with it? I could never do such a thing.”
In conclusion, Longwe told the two presenters he only feared for his life because everyone believed the lies being spread about him.
“I’m scared. Not that I will get arrested for killing Senzo because I know I’m innocent. But I’m scared I could find myself in the wrong crowd and get attacked. Kelly is the one who drove Senzo to the hospital. I got there probably 30-40 minutes later because I couldn’t find the hospital. I don’t know how other arrangements were done.”
What the killers look like
“There was a tall, light guy wearing a spottie, one was short and wearing a khaki jacket and had dreadlocks. It’s either these robbers are not South Africans and skipped the country or the police are not doing the forensic investigation right.”
Zandile Khumalo’s version
In an interview with Ukhozi FM in February 2018, Zandile said they were enjoying Sunday kos her mother had cooked for them when the robbery took place.
“It was a Sunday. We were coming from a show which was at Dorothy Nyembe Park. We were happy‚ and we went and fetched Senzo’s friend‚ whose name is Tumelo Madlala‚ in Spruitview. We arrived at home‚ sat down and ate. It was a very happy day. My mother had prepared Sunday dinner for us.
“Late in the afternoon‚ Longwe called, saying he is coming to the house. I said he should come because my mother had cooked. When he arrived‚ I went to fetch him outside. Then all of us began to eat.
“While we were eating‚ people stormed into the house. They immediately demanded cellphones and money. When they said this‚ I took my phone and hid it under the pillow on the sofa. Longwe then stood up, pushed one of the men and forced his way out. When we saw that Longwe had run‚ we jumped and tried to grab one of the men who was trying to force himself into my bedroom‚ which Kelly had run into.
“It was a huge scuffle. All of a sudden there were gunshots. When I heard the gun‚ I ran and hid myself in the bathroom. I did not run alone but with Tumelo because he was next to me. I then heard two gunshots while I was in the bathroom. I looked‚ hiding behind the bathroom door‚ to see what was happening. I then saw Senzo running to hide himself. I asked myself: ‘Why is he running?’
“I then rushed out, and went to take my phone and tried to call. I did not know which number to dial because I was in panic mode. I then went outside and called neighbours and asked them to call the police. When I returned to the house I Kelly was getting into the car and told me she was driving Senzo to the hospital because the ambulance would take long. We then got into the car. I then continued to apply pressure on the chest wound where Senzo was hit. As we drove along the way‚ I could see that Senzo wanted to close his eyes and I kept telling him to keep his eyes open.
“I then felt that his stomach was becoming cold. We arrived at the hospital and went to the emergency ward. Medical staff began examining him and later my mother arrived, because we had left her behind. She rushed to where medical staff was helping Senzo. The next thing I heard was her screaming.”
Singer Kelly Khumalo is seen arriving at her house in Zamo Section in Vosloorus, 27 October 2014, where her boyfriend Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates captain Senzo Meyiwa was shot and killed on Sunday evening. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark
Kelly Khumalo’s version
Speaking to fans at her Up Close and Personal with Kelly Khumalo concert in Johannesburg in August 2017, Kelly said she did everything she possibly could to save Senzo.
Kelly said she, Meyiwa and friends went to her mother’s place for Sunday lunch in Vosloorus on October 26, 2014.
“It was a great day. We were having a great day. Just as we were about to leave, there was a bang at the door and the door opened and two guys walked in. One pointed a gun at me, demanded money and cellphones and I ran to my sister’s room. He followed me, I pushed the door, trying to close it; he pushed back and I pushed again.
“Until today I do not know why he gave up on pushing, but he did for some reason,” she said.
Khumalo said while she was trying to run for her life, she forgot about her children.
“Later on I realised that my children were in the house. When I opened the door my mom, Senzo and his friends were fighting the intruders. My son watched it all happen,” she said.
She said during the scuffle she heard two gunshots and immediately went to the other room to check her son.
“Then Senzo ran into my hands. I thought he was trying to protect me from the intruders but he had blood on his chest and back; that’s when I knew he had been shot.
“We couldn’t even wait for the ambulance to arrive. We rushed him to hospital. I did everything I could. I didn’t want him to think I gave up on him,” she said, sobbing.
In an interview with eNCA, Kelly said her situation was quite sad because her son remembered everything that happened that night, including the faces of the robbers who shot Senzo.
She said: “My son remembers Senzo very well, so he asks about him every now and then and I need to just make up a story because I feel like he’s not ready. He remembers a lot. I remember at some point he saw some guys that were put on TV and he said: ‘I don’t like those uncles, they killed my father.’”
“That’s what he said. It was very sad for me to experience because my son was there and he remembers the type of people, what they looked like, so that memory stayed with them till today.”
In another interview with eNCA earlier this year the Jehovah hitmaker said the wait for something to come out of the case was “tormenting” because she had done everything in her power to help with the investigation.
“I don’t know those people who broke into the house, otherwise I would have gone to their house and say this is the person who did it, but I’ve given all the information that’s necessary for police to find the perpetrators.”
Khumalo seemed to not understand why the investigation was taking so long when there were fingerprints of the perpetrators and all witnesses cooperated with the police.
“There were fingerprints in the house, there was a hat that was found in the house that had obviously DNA of whoever that was. All the witnesses have cooperated, I don’t know what the public wants from me. I’ve given my testimony to the people that deserve to know, which is the law, anything beyond that is out of my hands.
“I’m very angry and for me, I feel like the law is failing us. I know they’ve done everything in their power but I feel like if you have fingerprints it should be easy to find someone unless they’re not from the country.”
Senzo Meyiwa’s father Samuel Meyiwa is comforted by Minister Malusi Gigaba during the funeral service of Senzo Meyiwa on November 1, 2014 at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban South Africa. The Bafana Bafana captain was shot and killed at his girlfriend, Kelly Khumalo’s, house last Sunday evening. He was buried alongside Nat Nakasa at the Heroes Acre.(Photo by Gallo Images / Frennie Shivambu)
Sam Meyiwa speaks out
In an interview with Mmasechaba and Mo Flava in February 2018, Senzo Meyiwa’s father, Sam, said he did not believe there was a robbery.
He said: “The person who killed Senzo is among the boys who were at Kelly’s house. The culprit is among those boys … The people who were present when my son was shot are causing me so much pain. They know who killed Senzo but they are keeping quiet. There is someone among those boys who killed Senzo. His father paid money to bribe the police so this boy does not get arrested. The thing is I can’t say who the boy is exactly.”
Chicco Twala’s version
In another interview with Mmasechaba and Mo Flava on Metro FM in February 2018, Chicco said Kelly called him in tears.
He said: “I was sleeping at home when I received a call from Kelly crying and she said ‘They shot Senzo’. I rushed out of my house, and when I got there I found Kelly, Longwe and another guy, said to be Senzo’s friend. Senzo went to pick up this guy from somewhere, I don’t know where. I found them there and Senzo was lying there. I asked what happened, they said two guys came in and they wanted to rob them whatever and they shot Senzo. On the way to the hospital I phoned a lot of people.”
He also denied his gun was the murder weapon.
“I don’t know how often I see my son… hence I’m saying my firearm is always with me. I bought this firearm in 1989. I haven’t shot anyone or even fired a warning shot. It’s always in my safe.”
“Longwe is my son but if he had killed Senzo and I suspected it I would have told you. I did that before, my uncle did something and I asked him until he told the truth. I got him arrested and he served 10 years. If Longwe pulled the trigger, maybe he did it with someone’s gun, not mine. They must leave me out of this. I would have never allowed Longwe or anyone near my firearm. No!”
He further corroborated Longwe’s story that everything had been taken for tests.
“After the shooting the police and Hawks called me and said they wanted my gun. I asked them why and they told me because my son was in the murder scene. I gave them my firearm for about four weeks for ballistic tests and they brought back to me and they said my gun is not the one.”
Again in February 2018
Speaking to Power FM, Chicco Twala surprisingly echoed Sam’s opinion and said he did not believe a robbery had taken place, calling on all the witnesses to speak out on who pulled the trigger.
“Kelly Khumalo, Zandi Khumalo, Kelly’s mother. Longwe, Tumelo, Mthokozisi Twala( relative of Senzo’s wife Mandisa) they must tell the police what happened on that day because they were there. If Longwe pulled the trigger, or Kelly, these six people, all of them, they know who pulled the trigger. They know who killed Senzo.
“If those people can just tell the truth, let’s forget about the contradictions. Someone pulled the trigger. Someone killed Senzo that night and these six people, why are they quiet? I’m not buying the story about the robbery, personally, I don’t buy the story about the robbery. Someone knows who killed Senzo among those people. They must be arrested if needs be, all of them. I heard my son saying it was a robbery gone wrong. I would disagree with him. What if it’s a hit?”
Though some who listened to his Metro FM interview said Chicco had contradicted himself, the music mogul said there was no contradiction
He said: “Kelly called me from the hospital, and I found Senzo lying there. There were nurses and everybody. They called me because my son was there. Senzo used to come to my studio with Kelly all the time so I don’t understand why it’s a problem that Kelly called me. That’s the only crime I’ve committed. Is it a crime to be called and rush to hospital?”
He further reiterated his statement that he would not defend his son.
“My son is a drug addict. Before Senzo’s death he had just come of of Elim clinic and he was starting to repent. He was okay when he fell in love with Zandi. After Senzo’s murder he went back to drugs. With people like him there is a lot of instability. I don’t want to defend him. If he has killed Senzo, it will be the shock of my life. He told me he never pulled the trigger. I even went to the Hawks three or four days later because a guy called Mthokozisi Twala, I didn’t find him at the hospital, and I told them when they investigate the matter they must leave no stone unturned.
“Investigate even Senzo’s wife and everybody. How can Senzo’s friend, who Senzo picked up from Park Station that day can defend my son if he is a killer?”
On rumours that he had bought the Khumalo family a house following the murder, Chicco said: “Why would I be so evil and buy Kelly’s family a house?”
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – 7 June 2010: Sello “Chicco” Twala arriving at the South Gauteng High Court for the hearing of Brenda Fassie’s estate case. (Photo by Gallo Images/Sowetan/Bafana Mahlangu)
A City Press report has claimed a senior NPA executive told the family that all of those known to have been in Kelly’s home on the night in question in 2014 had not been honest about their allegation that an armed man and his accomplice stormed into the house and then shot Meyiwa.
The executive reportedly said that “all the witnesses who were in the house at the time of the shooting lied … we suspect the shooting happened among the people who were inside the house”.
A neighbour who came forward with new information has also raised questions about the number of robbers who entered Kelly’s house that night. While the story has been about two robbers, the neighbour said Kelly’s mother told her there were three robbers.
They reportedly told Sunday Independent: “I asked her [Kelly’s mother] who shot her son-in-law and she said that three unknown black males shot her son-in-law; further, that one came inside the house and demanded money and cellphones and the two remained outside. The one who entered the house is the very same one who shot Senzo. We ran after them as she directed us, and looked around the park, and while we were running, other neighbours drove around in their cars also looking for the guys who shot Senzo. We could not see or find any suspicious people or activities.”
Responding to the report, Kelly said in an interview with eNCA: “How dare you write something that is so false and untrue and misleading the nation. At the end of the day, I promise you this, you will have an egg on your face. I’ve spoken about the Senzo Meyiwa issue so many times but people have decided that they want me guilty, so why defend myself? They must believe what they want. Me and God know the truth. One thing I will never do is to protect someone who killed the father of my child. At what expense? At the end of the day, God still wins.”
The murder case is back in the spotlight following AfriForum’s announcement that Advocate Gerrie Nel, head of AfriForum’s private prosecution unit, would act on behalf of the Meyiwa family and help investigate and possibly solve Senzo’s murder.
Senzo’s brother, Sifiso Meyiwa, said: “I am proud to be associated with AfriForum. They are willing to help us. I don’t care about any people in high positions in government or about corrupt people. I will continue to fight for justice for my brother. ”
The killer/s is/are still at large, though this has only led to the frustration of those who were in the house, South Africans and Senzo’s father, Sam, who has since passed on.
In a statement this week, the SAPS has slammed a weekend report alleging that the police had been party to an alleged cover-up of the murder.
“The article which appeared on the front page of the Sunday Independent on 10 November 2019 is misleading to say the least,” said spokesperson Vish Naidoo.
“The article contains a myriad of assumptions, untruths and innuendos which have the potential of causing unnecessary uncertainties.”
Naidoo said it was untrue that Colonel Bongani Gininda had been taken off the case after allegedly withholding a “crucial statement he had received in 2017 on who murdered Meyiwa and why”.
They reported that a case of defeating the ends of justice had been opened against Gininda in May, “but he was mysteriously transferred to KwaZulu-Natal before he was arrested or questioned”.
Naidoo said this couldn’t be further from the truth.
“For starters, Colonel Gininda is heading a team which is relooking at cold cases in terms the South African Police Service Cold Case Intervention Programme as pronounced by the National Commissioner of Police.”
He said Gininda was still the lead investigator of the team investigating the murder of Meyiwa.
“He has never been removed or replaced as the investigator of the Senzo Meyiwa matter since he was tasked with this investigation in 2018.”
Naidoo said the article was “nothing short of story-telling based primarily on assumptions which can only be interpreted as intended to mislead the nation”.
He said the national police commissioner was appealing to the nation, and the media in particular, to allow the investigation to take its course unhindered.
“However, we will welcome any information that can help bring us closer to resolving this case,” said General Khehla Sitole.
Colonel Gininda had a wealth of experience in criminal investigations after having successfully brought down one of this country’s biggest criminal underworld figures, Radovan Krejcir.
“Therefore, everyone may rest assured that this investigation is being done by a team led by a good and capable investigator,” added Sitole.
– The Citizen