Senzo Meyiwa trial: Cop argues his duties weren’t limited to escorting murder accused
The Ekurhuleni Metro Police officer has denied that he assaulted Bongani Ntanzi.
Accused number two Bongani Ntanzi at the Pretoria High Court on 15 September 2022. Picture: Gallo Images/Tebogo Letsie
The defence has argued that a state witness had no authorisation to escort Senzo Meyiwa murder accused Bongani Ntanzi when the suspect allegedly confessed to his involvement about the former Bafana Bafana captain’s killing.
On Monday, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria continued to hear evidence from Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department (EMPD) officer Wendell Jonathan during his cross-examination.
A trial-within-a-trial is taking place to determine the admissibility of confession statements, pointing out and warning statements by the five accused men in the main trial.
Jonathan testified, in his evidence-in-chief, that he helped police escort Ntanzi to Moroka Police Station in Soweto, where the accused made a confession statement before Colonel Moholo Solomon Raphadu on 19 June 2020.
Days later, he transported Ntanzi from a police station in Pretoria to the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court, where he allegedly made a second confession before Magistrate Vivian Cronje.
The officer has denied that he assaulted the suspect as alleged by the defence.
‘My assistance was required’
During proceedings, Jonathan told the court he received a call from his immediate supervisor, Superintendent Vishan Singh to participate in the escort a day before Ntanzi’s confession was took place.
The EMPD officer said Sergeant Vusimuzi Mogane had sent the request to Singh.
“Was there a written permission for you to go and provide services to the Saps [South African Police Service] on the 19th of June?” Advocate Zandile Mshololo asked.
“No my Lord,” Jonathan responded.
He explained that he was given instructions verbally.
“I would say telephonically as the supervisor then informed us that we will be conducting an escort the next day,” the witness said.
Jonathan said it was not the first time that the Saps had requested the services of the EMPD.
The EMPD officer rejected Mshololo’s suggestion that handing over a suspect to a Saps officer was not part of his duties.
“It is part of my duties as we are not just limited to escorting. We are required to safeguard the suspect and the investigating officers. Me handing over the suspect was merely the fact that my assistance was required from Sergeant Mogane. He could have asked any other officer,” Jonathan told the court.
Watch the trial below:
Mshololo then quizzed the witness about the sequence of events before and after Ntanzi concluded his confession with Raphadu.
The defence lawyer told Jonathan she was of the view that there was no reason for him to wait for the accused when he was in fact handcuffed and, therefore, couldn’t escape.
“I put it to you that the reason why you remained there was for a specific purpose… to induce fear into the accused and to make sure he complies with the instruction of the police officer on what he was told to do,” Mshololo said.
“After handing over the suspect, Colonel Raphadu requested me to leave his office. When I left the office, I wen outside to the vehicles. Waiting for the instruction or completion of the statement,” Jonathan replied.
Mshololo also put it to Jonathan that there was no record of him signing out the suspect at the Moroka police station, but the officer disputed this.
“I can’t recall if it was in the occurrence book, but I did sign,” the EMPD officer said.
Ntanzi is one of five men on trial for Meyiwa’s murder.
He has already been pointed out by at least two witnesses as one of the armed intruders, who entered the Khumalo household in Vosloorus on 26 October 2014.
The suspect and his co-accused – who have been charged for murder, attempted murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, possession of an unlicensed firearm, and possession of ammunition -have pleaded not guilty to the former Orlando Pirates goalkeeper’s killing.