The trial of the five men accused of the murder of former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa kicked off in the High Court in Pretoria on Monday, eight years since he was killed.
Below is the timeline of events from the day Meyiwa was gunned down in Vosloorus in 2014 up until his alleged killers were arrested and now standing trial in 2022.
Senzo Meyiwa is killed on October 26, 2014 while visiting his then-girlfriend and mother of his child, singer Kelly Khumalo, in Vosloorus in Gauteng.
In the house that fateful day was Meyiwa, Kelly and her younger sister, Zandi, their mother Ntombi Khumalo, Longwe Twala, Meyiwa’s friends Mthokozisi Thwala and Tumelo Madlala, and Kelly’s then 4-year-old son, Christian, and Thingo, Kelly’s daughter with Senzo.
- October 28, 2014: Police release identikits of the two men believed to be behind the killing of Meyiwa.
A reward of up R250 000 is also offered for information that could lead to the arrest and conviction of the killers.
- October 31, 2014, police arrest Vosloorus resident, 27-year-old Zamokuhle Mbatha, in connection with the murder of Meyiwa. Mbatha is known to the Khumalo family.
- November 1: Meyiwa is buried in a state funeral at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
- November 11: Mbatha makes his second appearance at the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court where charges against him are withdrawn due to lack of evidence. In 2019, Mbatha sues the State, demanding R17.7m as compensation.
- 2015 until 2019: Samuel Meyiwa, Senzo’s father, is constantly in the media pleading for help in catching his son’s killers and reaching out to police about a tip-off.
Former police minister Fikile Mbalula – who is now the minister of transport, promised Samuel that when he was appointed police minister in 2017 that one of his top priorities was to crack the Senzo murder case.
Unfortunately, no arrests took place under Mbalula’s administration.
- July 29: After five years of seeking justice for the murder of his son, Samuel Meyiwa dies a broken man at his uMlazi home. He had been bedridden after suffering a stroke in August 2018.
The stroke, his family said, was partly brought on by the stress of trying to get justice for his son.
- October 27: Sifiso Meyiwa, the brother of the late Senzo and his cousin, Siyabonga Meyiwa, hold a media briefing and announce that they have approached Afrikaans lobby group Afriforum for help in solving Senzo’s case.
- November 6: Afriforum chief executive Kallie Kriel briefs the media with regard to the Meyiwa’s murder investigation. He announces that they have appointed head of its private prosecution unit, Gerrie Nel, as the family’s advocate in the investigation into Meyiwa’s murder.
- October 20: News24 reports that a gun which has been positively linked to the killing of Meyiwa has been found in Cleveland police station and it has also been used in the murder of a taxi boss three months after the soccer star died.
According to News24, the suspect was reportedly convicted of the taxi boss murder and sentenced to 30 years.
- October 26: Six years later, Police Minister Bheki Cele announces that five suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder of Meyiwa.
Cele said the arrests were made between in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
The men subsequently appear at the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court, where the matter is postponed to November 27.
- November 27: Muzikawulahlelwa Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Mncube, Mthokosizi Maphisa and Sifisokuhle Ntuli appear at the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court and their matter is postponed to5, March 2021.
- October 27, A document erroneously sent to the media by the NPA puts singer Kelly Khumalo at the front and centre of the Meyiwa murder case.
The document was released to the media along with the charge sheet for the case of the five suspects who were arrested, linked with the murder of the former Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana player.
It shows Colonel Bongani Gininda of the SAPS’s cold case unit instructing the investigating officer to outline at least 10 tasks linked with the Meyiwa murder investigation, of which two of the items on the document concern the musician.
Gininda requests statements or affidavits relating to how the police obtained confessions from two people. It also requests cellphone communication between the accused before, during and after the commission of the crime, cell tower locations and the automatic vehicle locations of a VW Polo believed to have been used as an escape car during the Meyiwa murder in Vosloorus.
Pertaining to Khumalo, the document requests for the singer’s cellphone records.
The document also calls on more information about a particular loan that may have been taken to fund the murder of the goalkeeper.
The NPA at the time said the document had been released to the media ‘by mistake’.
- March 5: The men appear at the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court, where their matter is transferred to the High Court.
Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi dropped his lawyer for allegedly forcing him to confess to a crime he says he didn’t commit.
From there, the men make several appearances in court until the trial date is set for April 11, 2022
- March 17: The four men, Muzikawukhulelwa Sthemba Sibiya, 34, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, 30, Mthobisi Prince Ncube, 36, and Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa, 35, appear at the Pretoria High Court where they inform the judge that they have dropped their lawyer and have appointed advocate Malesela Teffo ahead of the trial.
Teffo also tells the court that he wants the case to be re-opened and all the people who were present on the night Senzo was murdered to be arrested and charged with perjury.
The fifth accused, Sifisokuhle Nkani Ntuli, was not in court.
- April 7: Muzikawukhulelwa Sthemba Sibiya, 34, is sentenced to 12 years in prison for attempted murder in another case just days before the Meyiwa trial resumes.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said: “This is after he was convicted for the attempted murder of Ntombenhle Ndaba and Mfanelo Mbatha whom he attacked in a hail of bullets, but miraculously they survived.
“He was also accused of shooting his girlfriend in December 2014 after she threatened to blow the whistle on him for his alleged involvement in the murder of Senzo Meyiwa, of which he had apparently confided in the girlfriend.”
– April 11: The trial gets off to a shaky start after Judge Tshifhiwa Maumela rolled the matter over to Tuesday, to allow advocate Zandile Mshololo, representing Sifisokuhle Nkani Ntuli, to consult her client.
Mshololo had complained that she had not had enough time to consult her client. Per IOL