Home South African Senzo Meyiwa murder accused was assaulted, tortured in police cells – defence

Senzo Meyiwa murder accused was assaulted, tortured in police cells – defence

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One of the five accused in the Senzo Meyiwa trial says police officers assaulted, tortured, and tubed him with a plastic bag before he made a confession regarding the slain footballer’s October 2014 murder.

The five men accused of killing former Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa are (from left): Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa and Fisokuhle Nkani Ntuli. File picture: Oupa Mokoena, African News Agency (ANA)

ONE OF the five accused in the Senzo Meyiwa trial, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, says police officers assaulted, tortured, and tubed him with a plastic bag before he made a confession regarding the slain footballer’s October 2014 murder.

Sibiya’s defence advocate, Thulani Mngomezulu, told the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that his client had been severely assaulted by the police and the tubing method was employed on him to force the confession.

There is currently a trial-within-a-trial to determine if the alleged confessions made by Sibiya and fellow accused Bongani Ntanzi were made freely and voluntarily.

Sibiya made a confession and pointed out the Vosloorus hostel to the Justice of the Peace officer, Lieutenant-Colonel James Hadebe, on June 5, 2020.

Ntanzi made a confession before Magistrate Vivienne Cronje on June 24, 2020.

Under his evidence in chief, Hadebe told the court that none of the police officers at the Alberton police station were willing to sign out Sibiya from the police cells and bring him to the offices for the confession.

He had to sign for him himself, fetching him from the police cells where he was held and kept under guard by Ekurhuleni Metro Police (EMPD) officers.

Mngomezulu said Sibiya was “assaulted and tortured and … tubed with a plastic bag on his face”.

Hadebe said he could not comment on that.

“I have no comment on that, but I believe he would have reported it to me”.

Mngomezulu said police officers were dishonest in their reasons for being unwilling to sign for Sibiya because when Hadebe fetched him, there was no attempt, and he was guarded by EMPD officers.

“The reason people do not want to account is because they are scared of an escape. There was no attempt to escape when he arrived. There were EMPD officers there. What were the prospects of escape?”

Hadebe said it was a genuine reason offered by the Alberton police officers and he decided to take the accused himself.

“It is a genuine reason. In terms of cases of the escape of a suspect, the investigation starts with the police officer who signed.

“When a person handed over to the police officer gets signed out by a specific person, in case anything happens, the person who signs for them will be investigated. I saw no issue, hence I went and signed for him,” said Hadebe.

Mngomezulu said Hadebe should have indicated the reasons on the written proforma document.

Hadebe also did not make use of an interpreter, as he believed he was conversant in isiZulu.

He told the court they communicated in isiZulu, completed the form in English, and then he read it back to the accused and explained the contents.

Mngomezulu has questioned why he would decide to be an investigator and an interpreter in the same matter.

Under his evidence in chief, as led by State advocate George Baloyi, Hadebe told the court he was proficient in isiZulu as he grew up in Newcastle and spoke isiZulu as his home language.

Hadebe also showed pictures to the court of a naked Sibiya with no apparent signs of physical assault on his body.

The trial continues.

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