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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

Murder mystery: Widow of top cop in Senzo Meyiwa case gunned down

The widow of a key detective in the murder case of soccer star Senzo Meyiwa was killed in a drive-by shooting in Vosloorus on Sunday.

In yet another surprise twist related to the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial, Brigadier Philani Ndlovu’s widow died in a hail of bullets on Sunday, 5 November, in Vosloorus.

The drive-by shooting follows 18 months after the retired brigadier’s passing in May 2022 – a few weeks after the start of the first Meyiwa trial before Judge Tshifiwa Maumela.

Brigadier Ndlovu: How does deceased cop fit into Meyiwa case?

Zandile Khumalo, Senzo Meyiwa and Kelly Khumalo.
From left, Zandile Khumalo, Senzo Meyiwa and Kelly Khumalo. Images: Facebook, iStock and Gallo Images

Ndlovu was one of the first senior police officers to arrive at the crime scene where Meyiwa was fatally shot on 26 October 2014.

The former Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper was gunned down in an alleged botched robbery at the home of his then-girlfriend and singer Kelly Khumalo’s mother, Ntombi, in Vosloorus.

Kelly’s sister Zandile Khumalo-Gumede; Zandile’s then-boyfriend Longwe Twala and two of Meyiwa’s friends – Mthokozisi Thwala and Tumelo Madlala –  were all present when the intruders allegedly entered the house.

ALSO READ: Senzo Meyiwa trial: Cop ‘slapped’ suspect in the face after asking for ID during arrest, court told

Widow of top cop gunned down in cold blood

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo confirmed they were investigating a case of murder.

He said Ndlovu’s widow, Nonhlanhla, was on her way from a shopping mall driving in Vosloorus on Sunday when unknown assailants fired at her from another vehicle.

“It is reported that the deceased was driving in Vosloorus on Sunday, 5 November, at approximately 12.50pm, when she was shot at by suspects who were driving parallel to her. The motive for the killing is unknown at this stage.

“Police are appealing to anyone who might have information that can help in the investigation or assist in the apprehension of the suspects to please call the nearest police station or call Crime Stop on 08600 10111,” said Masondo.

According to isiZulu news publication Isolezwe, Nonhlanhla moved to Eshowe, in KwaZulu-Natal, after the death of her husband.

“She was in Joburg to attend to some matters. We are shocked by this murder, and we don’t know why she would be murdered in this way,” family spokesperson Njabulo Ndlovu told Isolezwe.

Gauteng Police Commissioner General Elias Mawela said they are investigating all possibilities around the killing of Ndlovu’s wife.

Poisoning allegations and mysterious deaths

According to IOL, some reports claimed Ndlovu, who was the head of the Gauteng provincial detectives and in charge of the crime scene,  was poisoned, while others said he died after a short illness.

At the time, national police spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe said the South African Police Service (Saps) couldn’t comment about his death because he was retired.

The publication also made mention of Thabang Makeleni, one of two boys who told the police they saw people running away from the Khumalo house on the night of Mewiya‘s murder.

Makeleni and his best friend,  Simphiwe Ngwenya, helped the authorities compile identikits of the suspects.

Makeleni allegedly died from poisoning on 23 January 2019, just three months after the suspects were arrested and Ngwenya was shot and killed. No arrests were made in connection with his murder.

Cop statement used as hearsay evidence

The deceased police officer was not expected to testify in the murder trial as he had not deposed an affidavit, according to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

His name, however, has been mentioned by several witnesses throughout the Meyiwa trial, both under Maumela and Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng who is presiding over the second trial.

Ndlovu’s statement was used as hearsay evidence during cross-examination of police witness in the murder trial.

ALSO READ: Goalpost to gavel: Meet Senzo Meyiwa trial’s new judge, Ratha Mokgoatlheng

Online Senzo ‘sleuths’ weigh in

Take a look at some of the reactions to the news of the murder of Ndlovu’s widow on X (formerly Twitter):

@Mtika36101742: “The five accused of murdering Senzo are innocent. Ndlovu was poisoned because of his involvement in the saga. The wife probably knew something about her husband’s murder and Senzo’s murder or the case. In my opinion.”

@Warthog_North: “She probably had irrebuttable evidence on why her husband died, by who and for what. My take. God and the Meyiwa Ancestors willing, many high-profile figures are going to take the fall in this case!”

@Mxoh_2: “Maybe those who covered for the murderers learned that the late cop while investigating the murder, divulged crucial info to her, so she was a threat. Now I’m starting to believe Senzo’s brother. From Bheki Cele all the way down, they’re covering something or someone.”

ALSO READ: Zandile Khumalo ‘didn’t fight’ with Longwe Twala on night of Senzo Meyiwa’s death

Senzo Meyiwa murder trial – The restart

The five men on trial – Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa and Sifisokuhle Nkani Ntuli – have all pleaded not guilty.

The much delayed high-profile trial started anew on 18 July at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria after Mokgoatlheng took over as presiding judge from Maumela.

Maumela has been suspended by President Cyril Ramaphosa for failing to deliver reserved judgments within allocated time frames.

NOW READ: ‘Kelly and my son know who shot Senzo,’ says Chicco Twala

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