State witness in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, Tumelo Madlala, has expressed frustration over the suggestion there was no intruders in the home belonging to Kelly Khumalo’s mother when his longtime friend was shot almost 10 years ago.
Madlala returned to the witness stand in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday following his testimony the day before.
The state witness was cross-examined by the defence to test the credibility of his version of events at the time of Meyiwa’s death on 26 October 2014.
‘I could recognise him’
During his cross-examination, led by Advocate Sipho Ramosepele, Madlala revealed to the court that he first saw images of accused number two, Bongani Ntanzi, in newspapers following his arrest in June 2020 because he was never called for an identification parade before that.
The witness also pointed out that he has never attended an identification parade where accused number one, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, was present.
“I may not necessarily remember clearly the time or which year in particular, but I remember there was a stage where [Senzo’s brother] Sifiso Meyiwa came to me with a newspaper depicting the pictures of the suspects wearing masks,” Madlala said.
Madlala on Monday had identified Ntanzi as one of the intruders who entered the house, located in Vosloorus.
Ramosepele then referred to a statement Madlala made with Colonel Bongani Gininda in November 2020, where he was quoted as saying he was not sure he would be able to recognise the suspects.
“The reason why I furnished a statement like that was because I was uncertain of the fact that I will be able to point them out until I came to court and saw them,” Madlala responded.
“Since I came to court and saw him, I could recognise him. Even after 20 years, l will still point him out. I do not think that there is a part in the contents of the statement that is to the effect that I won’t be able to point him out.”
‘I am tired’
Ramosepele attempted to read into the record a witness statement by Meyiwa’s brother in law, Mlungisi Hlophe, but Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng indicated that the evidence was inadmissible because the statement was not commissioned.
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“That means what is in the statement doesn’t exist. That is why it was not commissioned,” Madlala remarked.
The witness questioned why Hlophe’s statement wasn’t taken shortly after Meyiwa’s death in 2014, but only in 2019.
“I want to know,” he added.
Madlala then became frustrated with Ramosepele’s line of questioning.
Ramosepele: “The truth of what happened in that house is only known by yourself, Kelly Khumalo, Zandile Khumalo, MaKhumalo, and Mthokozisi Thwala.”
Madlala: “The truth that you are talking about is the truth that I am presenting here in court.”
Ramosepele: “I put it to you that there were no intruders that entered the house on 26 October 2014 and killed Senzo Meyiwa.”
Madlala: “If that is what you are saying then you have got the answer as to who actually did it. At least tell me who it was so I can be able to answer you.”
The witness insisted there was no truth to what Ramosepele said.
“What you are saying is lies. I apologise if it sounds as if I’m being disrespectful, but I don’t have time to play. Whatever you are saying, you are privy to saying it because you are on the side of the people you are defending.
“I wish to receive that information pertaining to the allegations that I am lying. What would be the reason for me to lie? It must be nice for you, you don’t know what I had undergone as a result of this case,” he said.
Ramosepele explained to Madlala that he has been respectful to the witness and was only doing his job.
“You are disrespecting me by saying there were no intruders inside that house. I was there,” the witness said, before the judge intervened.
“I apologise. It’s just that I am now fed up of the fact that it is being said that there were no intruders in the house. Yoh! I am tired. Those are lies,” Madlala added.
Failed to dial 10111
Madlala was also grilled by Ramosepele about his failure to call the police after Meyiwa was shot.
It was previously heard in court that none of the people who were in the house called police or an emergency number when Meyiwa was shot, according to their cellphone records.
Ramosepele asked Madlala why he didn’t call the police as he had his phone when he fled into a room after a gunshot had gone off.
“I don’t know how I was in the position to ask for help. It was my first time in that house. The only people I knew were those people who were in the house,” the witness responded.
Madlala said he did not even try the 10111 helpline as he had never dialled that number before.
“You see, when you are in a situation, it’s a different story. When you have never been in a situation, it’s easy to say, why didn’t you do that or do this? But when you are confronted with a situation, you experience it differently,” Madlala replied.
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