Police believe they are ‘closing the net’ on the mastermind behind Bafana star’s murder.
Three more suspects, including some of the witnesses who were at the house of singer Kelly Khumalo’s mother at the time, are expected to be arrested soon in connection with the killing of former Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates captain Senzo Meyiwa six years ago.
celebgossip.co.za has learnt police believe they are “closing the net” on “the mastermind” behind Senzo’s murder. Five men appeared in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday in connection with the slain soccer star’s death at his then girlfriend’s mother’s house at Vosloorus in Ekurhuleni as their families said they were puzzled by the allegations being levelled against the alleged hitmen.
Muzikawukhelelwa Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokosizeni Ziphozonke Maphisa and Sifikuhle Nkani Ntuli have been charged with murder, possession of unlawful ammunition, attempted murder, and robbery with aggravating circumstances. Acoording to Sunday Independent the five men have left a trail of dead bodies throughout the country and have been elusive to the cops for many years.
Their court appearance this week was dramatic when the men, who appeared irritated, initially refused to stand in the dock, saying they had nothing to do with Meyiwa’s death.
One person, who is believed to hold the key to unlock the investigation, is expected to be brought in for questioning by investigators in the next few days.
“More suspects implicated might be added on November 27 when the five men accused of killing Senzo appear in court, it will only depend on how soon the investigators move in to verify certain information.
“I can safely say that police are looking into three people, who are potential suspects in this case, to be arrested soon,” a senior official with intimate knowledge of the case, who asked not to be named as he isn’t authorised to speak to the media, said yesterday.
His sentiments were echoed by National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson, Sipho Ngwema, who said they have asked for further investigation into the Meyiwa case as “the matter is far from complete”.
“The director of public prosecutions issued instructions for further investigations. The matter is far from complete and further arrests cannot be ruled out,“Ngwema said yesterday.
Our investigation has established that the five men have a string of murder charges against them. Two of them are already serving more than 30 years in jail for the hit on two taxi bosses in Johannesburg. Sunday Independent has also seen several documents from the NPA files which reveal that:
• Maphisa is serving 30 years at
Leeuwkop Correctional Centre in Johannesburg after he was convicted for the murder of a taxi boss in Vosloorus in 2015. He was hired to carry out the hit. Meyiwa’s father once gave police Maphisa’s name back in 2015 as one of the hitmen who allegedly killed his son. But the initial investigators of the case didn’t follow-up on his claim.
• Ntuli is being investigated for political killings in KwaZulu-Natal. He is being investigated by the same task team probing the murder of former ANC youth league secretary-general Sindiso Magaqa. He is currently incarcerated at Qalakabusha Correctional Centre at Empangeni in KwaZulu-Natal pending the investigation.
• Sibiya has two attempted murders charges against him after he allegedly shot his former girlfriend eight times with an unlicensed firearm. His father is being sought by the police for defeating the ends of justice charges after he allegedly paid the woman to suppress the case. Sibiya is also facing another attempted murder charge after he shot another man more than five times with an unlicensed firearm.
• Ntanzi has a pending attempted murder case after he allegedly shot his girlfriend but she survived. He is the only suspect who appeared in court this week with a lawyer.
• Mncube is serving 35 years at Johannesburg Correctional Centre, better known as Sun City, after he was arrested and sentenced for killing Alexandra, Randburg, Midrand and Sandton Taxi Association (Armsta) taxi boss, Reggie Mohlala, in January 2015 allegedly with the same gun used to kill Meyiwa.
All the men denied killing Meyiwa when they appeared in court and didn’t apply for bail as they are already serving time for different crimes. Magistrate Hans Havenga postponed the case to November 27. Ngwema yesterday confirmed that the men were facing a string of criminal charges. “At the time of appearance in court, the accused were all in custody for various offences including murder and possession of drugs. There is one in custody in connections with political killings.” Ngwema also confirmed that two of the men, Maphisa and Mncube, have been convicted and sentenced to lengthy jail terms for killing two taxi bosses in Johannesburg.
Speaking about the leaked NPA document linking Kelly Khumalo to Meyiwa’s killing, Ngwema said: “The document was not leaked – the page found itself among the pages of the provisional indictment and unintentionally was distributed to the media. It is part of an internal communication document and questions regarding it cannot be entertained.”
Sources also confirmed this week that Meyiwa’s father, Sam, had told police back in 2015 that his son’s murder was a hit and gave them two names of the alleged hitmen after someone “whispered” to him.
One of them, Maphisa, was among the five alleged hitmen who appeared in court on Tuesday.
“Records show that Sam Meyiwa did approach police in 2015 to report that his son was killed in a hit and gave two names of his alleged killers and one of them, Maphisa, appeared in court this week,” said a police officer.
At the time in 2015, Sam Meyiwa even told a local publication in KwaZulu-Natal after he visited the police that he wasn’t scared of the hitmen.
His sentiments were echoed by AfriForum head of prosecution, advcate Gerrie Nel, who also concluded this week that the star goalkeeper’s murder was a hit.
This was after Nel, whose unit is probing the matter on behalf of the
Meyiwa family, received a briefing from the police investigating the case.
“And we agree, that having gone through the evidence that this is a hit and we’ve also indicated our full co-operation in exposing the mastermind and ensuring that the mastermind is also prosecuted,” Nel said during a press conference on Monday afternoon.
Meyiwa’s family welcomed with scepticism the arrests of the five alleged hitmen.
The slain soccer star’s brother, Sifiso, said they would be happy once “the mastermind” is behind bars.
“Although we are grateful the arrests were made, we remain anxious that the mastermind was not arrested,” he said.
Yesterday Meyiwa’s cousin, Siyabonga Miya, said he was positive about the case and the arrests.
“Spiritually I am happy with the progress of the case as I believe that two of the suspects arrested will lead us to the truth,” he said.
Miya also confirmed that Meyiwa’s father, Sam, gave police the names of the two alleged hitmen back in 2015.
“Nobody bothered to arrest them then or question them.”
The families of the five suspects who appeared in court this week were puzzled by the allegations being levelled against them.
According to Maphisa’s sister Sinqobile, the suspects were relatives from oSuthu kwaNongoma in northern KZN.
Sinqobile said her brother called the family soon after his court appearance on Tuesday, denying his involvement in killing Meyiwa.
She said her family was shocked when her brother was linked to the high-profile case and because he had already been sentenced to 25 years in 2015 for murder.
“His arrest was a fallacy. We had expected him to appeal the current sentence on a murder case after he was wrongfully arrested, his lawyer is working on that. These are just trumped-up charges which had nothing to do with Meyiwa’s murder,” said Sinqobile.
Thandazani Mncube said it was impossible to link his brother Mthobisi to the murder after he was arrested in June 2014.
“We are confused about how police were able to link him when he was sentenced long before Meyiwa’s death. We are obviously shocked as a family but hoping that justice will prevail at the end,” said Mncube.
He said Mthobisi had missed his father’s funeral yesterday.
– The Sunday Independent