South Africa

Kelly Khumalo ordered boyfriend Senzo Meyiwa’s ‘murder’, court told

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Senzo Meyiwa, the former captain of the South African national football team was killed in a hit ordered by his girlfriend, the singer Kelly Khumalo, a South African court heard on Wednesday.

Brigadier Bongani Gininda, the police officer leading the investigation, said two of the five men charged over the October 26, 2014, shooting death of the 27-year-old Orlando Pirates goalkeeper had made confessions under oath that they were hired by Khumalo.

Gininda said investigators also had evidence found on Khumalo’s phone showing that she communicated with two other suspects before and after Meyiwa’s death in what was originally thought to be a robbery gone bad.

“The victim was murdered as a contractual assassination or hit, rather than robbery gone wrong,” Gininda said, reading from a document he prepared for the prosecution recommending Khumalo’s arrest.

He said prosecutors had elected not to charge Khumalo as yet as “there were certain things that needed to be looked into.”

Prosecutor George Baloyi tried to stop Gininda from being compelled by defence lawyers to read out his affidavit which he signed in 2020, arguing that it names people who are not in court but was overruled by the judge.

Gininda’s testimony came during proceedings in a “trial within a trial” as defence lawyers seek to have the confessions declared inadmissible as they claim that some of the suspects were beaten and detained for too long in order to induce the confessions.

Meyiwa was visiting Khumalo at her mother’s house in Vosloorus township near Johannesburg when two gunmen reportedly entered the house at around 8PM and shot him.

Also present at the time of the murder were Kelly’s sister Zandile, her boyfriend, Longwe Twala, the women’s mother Ntombi Khumalo and two of Meyiwa’s friends visiting from KwaZulu-Natal.

Nothing except Kelly Khumalo’s phone was stolen in the incident.

Gininda said they had confessions under oath made by Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya and Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi stating that Khumalo ordered the hit on Meyiwa, the father of her child.

Ntazi was also prepared to testify against the other accused people but his lawyers and the prosecution could not agree on the reduced sentence he was to serve, and the talks fell through.

Gininda said the inference from all the pieces of evidence was that Khumalo had clearly wanted to “kill” her late boyfriend after telling her sister that Meyiwa had “brought a dark cloud in my life.”

Said Gininda: “Communication records between her and her sister show that as early as 2013 she wanted to get rid of the deceased as she put it. It is abundantly clear that she hated him and wanted to get rid of him.

“She further states that she regrets not succeeding to get rid of him before. Taking into account all these facts, an inference can be drawn that she meant killing him.”

He said investigators had found four mobile phone numbers which Khumalo had not disclosed to the police in the aftermath of Meyiwa’s death.

“These numbers were discovered via the XDS system and subsequently linked to her activities,” he testified.

Gininda said these mobile phone records showed that Khumalo had links with two other suspects Mthobisi Mncube and Fisokuhle Ntuli.

“It was further discovered, through a cellphone analyst, that her cellphone memory album has the same photo of a see-through bag containing cash notes in the same location or spot as that of Mncube.

There is no reasonable explanation why Kelly Khumalo would be in contact telephonically with the hitman or killers of her boyfriend and share a picture full of money,” said Gininda.

Previous testimony by cellphone expert Colonel Lambertus Steyn revealed text messages from Kelly to her sister Zandi about how she felt about Meyiwa and their relationship at the time.

“I’m emotionally drained. I sometimes feel that Senzo brought a dark cloud in my life. And I can almost hate myself for not succeeding in getting rid of him via SMS and the SMS would not go (sic). I feel like God is deliberately sabotaging me by keeping this man in my life,” one of the messages said.

In another SMS, Kelly said to Zandi that she had prayed that she would eventually be freed from Meyiwa.

“All I can do and hope and pray that each day I’m getting close to the day of being free from him,” the message said.

Longwe Twala, the first person to run out of the house when the two alleged gunmen entered did not call for help.

Mthokozisi Thwala, Meyiwa’s friend from Durban who ran out of the house after the first shot did not call for help except informing the neighbours about what had just happened.

Zandile, who ran to a neighbour’s house, allegedly in a panic, also did not call for help until she returned back to house to find Meyiwa being loaded into his car.

Kelly, who remained in the house and attended to the bleeding Meyiwa, also did not call for help, despite making calls, Gininda told the court.

“Cellphones records show that after the incident took place, she phoned a number of people … but no call was made to emergency services,” Gininda said.

“She also subsequently went to a witch doctor for cleansing as it was also done by the other accused. A statement of Mr Mkhize, who is an expert in these matters, clearly indicates that this is not normally how it should be done if one is innocent.

“Evidence by means of sworn corroborating statements establishes a causal link between the offenders and the offences of murder, robbery in aggravating circumstances, possession of unlicensed firearm, and unlawful possession of ammunition and conspiracy to commit murder. Miss Khumalo seems to be the trigger point of this murder,” said Gininda.

The trial will continue on Thursday as the High Court in Pretoria with arguments over the admissibility of confession statements by Muzi Sibiya and Bongani Ntanzi as well as warned and cautioned statements by the three other accused – Mthobisi Mncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa and Fisokuhle Ntuli.

All the five have pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Zimlive

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