Zandile Khumalo denies being drunk on the night of Senzo Meyiwa’s murder
Zandile Khumalo's cross-examination continues as she faces questions about her sobriety during the tragic incident in 2014.
Picture File: Zandile Khumalo during the South African Music Awards nominees announcement at the Alberton Civic Centre on April 25, 2019, in Johannesburg. Photo: Gallo Images/Oupa Bopape
Senzo Meyiwa murder trial
The revelation came during her cross-examination by defense lawyer Sipho Ramosepele, representing two of the five men standing trial for Meyiwa’s murder back in 2014.
The trial, which resumed on Thursday after an early adjournment due to Zandile’s health issues the previous day, continued at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
Ramosepele questioned Zandile, who is a singer and dancer, about her state of sobriety on the fateful night of 26 October 2014, when Meyiwa was fatally shot during an alleged robbery at the Khumalo residence in Vosloorus, east of Johannesburg.
In her testimony, Zandile acknowledged that she had consumed alcohol that day, stating that she had three cans of Smirnoff Guarana while Meyiwa and others drank Heineken.
However, when pressed by Ramosepele on her level of intoxication, Zandile maintained that she was not drunk, claiming that three cans of the beverage had little effect on her due to her familiarity with alcohol.
“On a scale of one to 10, where would you put your state of intoxication or inebriation?” asked Ramosepele.
Zandile said in response: “I am not new to alcohol, so two or three cans don’t do anything to me”.
Ramosepele challenged Zandile’s response, pointing out that each can of Smirnoff Guarana contained 5.5% alcohol, suggesting that consuming three of them would likely lead to intoxication. The defence lawyer insinuated that Zandile might have been more intoxicated than she claimed to be during the incident.
“I don’t know you [and] I don’t know how you drink. My question is simply, based on what you said you drank that day, how were you feeling in terms of intoxication?” asked Ramosepele.
“I wasn’t drunk,” Zandile said in response.
Ramosepele wasn’t convinced by her answer and said: “What I’m suggesting to you is that you were more intoxicated than you are telling us in court here.”
Judge Mokgoatlheng intervenes
Intervening in the cross-examination, presiding Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng labelled the question unfair, emphasising that Ramosepele was not present on the night in question and had not examined Zandile personally.
The judge urged the defence lawyer to refrain from making assumptions without proper examination.
“If you say you’re putting it to her [that she was indeed drunk] then you should have examined her because you were not there,” said judge Mokgoatlheng.
The cross-examination continued with Ramosepele conceding to address the matter later in the trial.
Senzo Meyiwa’s murder trial involves five men – Muzikawukhulelwa Sthemba Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Ncube, Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa and Sifisokuhle Ntuli – who are facing various charges, including premeditated murder and attempted murder.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges on Tuesday, leading to the continuation of the long-awaited trial.
The trial continues.