“I was tortured to admit I killed Senzo Meyiwa”

The controversial Vosloorus CAS 375/1/2019 docket, which was opened five years after the murder of former Orlando Pirates goalkeeper, Senzo Meyiwa, may contain statements that were obtained through torture of those who gave them.

State witness, Mthokozisi Thwala, has told the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that in January 2019, the month the docket was opened, he was suddenly picked up by two police officers at his Umlazi home in Durban under the pretext that he was going to attend an identification parade. He says it would later turn out the real reason he was picked up was to torture him to admit having been the one who had killed Meyiwa on the night of 26 October 2014.

“From 2014 until 13 January 2019, police would call me at least two days before but this time around they didn’t. I told them this was the first time that they had just arrived. They told me that these people had just been arrested and needed to be identified,” says Thwala.

He says he was under the impression that the parade would be in Pietermaritzburg but he was told it would held in Johannesburg. I asked if we could not leave the following day.

They said I had made an oath that I would always be available. I asked them to wait for my mother who then arrived and they explained to her,” says Thwala.

He says he was driven all the way to Gauteng where he was taken to the office of the Investigating Officer of the second docket, Lieutenant-Colonel Joyce Buthelezi in Pretoria where he was tortured throughout the night.

Proceedings had to be paused for a moment when teary-eyed Thwala started sobbing and had been given sometime to gather himself again when he started recalling the torture.

He says while he was waiting in what looked like Buthelezi’s office, two arrived and took away his phone, “and then they asked me, why did you kill Senzo?’ In 2020, Muzi Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Ziphozonnke Maphisa, and Fisokuhle Ntuli were charged with Meyiwa’s murder, attempted murder of other witnesses, robbery with aggravating circumstances, unlawful possession of a firearm and possession of ammunition. They have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

It is the state’s case that on the night of 26 October 2014, two intruders allegedly stormed into Kelly Khumalo’s mother, Gladness’ house in Vosloorus where Meyiwa, Madlala, Gladness, Kelly, Zandi Khumalo, Longwe Twala, and Mthokozisi Thwala were sitting in the lounge watching TV.

The alleged first intruder, who was short, had a hat on, had dreadlocks, and armed with a gun, is said to have demanded cellphones and money. This was moments before he was pushed over by Longwe Twala as he (Longwe) ran out of the house just before a commotion ensued in the house in the presence of the second alleged intruder, before a shot that killed Meyiwa went off.

Thwala has so far corroborated this version of events.

Thwala says even after the torture he was asked to make a statement saying that he was not in the house the night Meyiwa was shot. In his evidence in court, he was in the house when the shot was fired and it was after that, that he ran out of the house, jumped over the gates of the house next door, before he jumped the wall back into Kelly’s home to find Meyiwa lying with a bullet would to the chest.

He says he was asked to send through this statement via WhatsApp which he did, but wrote it his way and not as instructed by Lt-Colonel Buthelezi.

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