In the wake of news that the Meyiwa family is considering the help of AfriForum’s private prosecutions unit to bring to book Bafana Bafana star Senzo Meyiwa’s killer or killers, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) reportedly wants all the witnesses questioned again.
The reason for this is suspicion that the witnesses in the house where Meyiwa was shot and killed in 2014 allegedly lied in their statements.
City Press has reported that a senior NPA executive told the family that all of those known to have been in singer Kelly Khumalo’s home on the night in question in 2014 had not been honest about their allegation that an armed man and his accomplice stormed into the house and then shot Meyiwa.
The executive reportedly said that “all the witnesses who were in the house at the time of the shooting lied … we suspect the shooting happened among the people who were inside the house”.
Meyiwa’s older brother Sifiso reportedly believes it is important to keep considering everyone in the house a suspect until proven otherwise.
The NPA’s Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Advocate Andrew Chauke, released a statement this week saying he had “noted with concern allegations levelled against his office that the NPA is failing to prosecute those allegedly involved or [who] have knowledge about the murder of Senzo Meyiwa”.
Chauke said he was worried about the public getting in the way and frustrating their efforts to solve the murder of the former Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper and captain.
“Of grave concern is the sharing of details of ongoing investigations in the public domain as this practice is likely to jeopardise the prospects of success in investigations that may ultimately lead to the apprehension of the suspect/s,” he said.
On Friday, lobby group AfriForum said it was “more than willing” to help with prosecution in the Meyiwa case. Sifiso confirmed having reached out to the lobby group.
Chauke then met with the family to explain why they could not proceed with prosecution. The family blames the NPA for the delay in justice, as they say the South African Police Service has done all it can.
“As part of promoting openness to victims of crime and their families, and after several enquiries in relation to the unsolved murder, the DPP met with the brother of the slain soccer player to explain why prosecution cannot proceed at this stage.
“The DPP further related challenges that the prosecution has experienced with regards to the investigations conducted in this matter, including his request seeking the removal of the old investigation team as there was no cohesion between the investigating team and the investigation itself, hence the recommendation to appoint a new team that can carry the investigations forward.
“The NPA remains committed to delivering justice and, to achieve this objective, the NPA requires thoroughly investigated cases that can pass judicial master.
“The NPA is not prepared to enrol cases with insufficient evidence, lest we be guilty of malicious prosecution and raising false hope to the family of the late Senzo Meyiwa.
“The investigations in this matter are at a sensitive stage. The NPA continues to play a guiding role and once the investigations are concluded and we are satisfied that the matter is court ready, we will not hesitate to bring the perpetrators to book,” said Chauke.
In June this year, it was reported that several arrests were “imminent” in the case, but that has not come to pass.
Sunday World reported that three well-known individuals, along with a “top cop” would be arrested for defeating the ends of justice, while a fifth would be arrested for the murder itself. This person was reportedly “well known”.
The remaining three suspects were said to be the “mother of one of the suspects” and “two other people”. The police were reportedly investigating witnesses for concealing evidence to protect the murder suspect.
Earlier this year, a car washer from Khumalo’s neighbourhood, Zamokuhle Mbatha, filed a lawsuit against Police Minister Bheki Cele and the NPA for wrongful arrest and defamation of character after he was arrested and detained for the murder back in 2014.
The papers were filed in the High Court in Johannesburg on May 13. Mbatha, who was 25 at the time, had appeared in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court after being positively identified by a witness following an identity parade.
His lawyer Xolani Ndwandwe said his client’s dignity and safety had been put on the line and he’d lost his job while he was in jail.
In March, Cele said he had not given up on bringing Meyiwa’s killers to book and was planning to map out a way to find justice. Cele added that finding Meyiwa’s killers was the most important task in his tenure as police minister.
Khumalo, for her part, has maintained she did everything she possibly could to save the life of her late boyfriend, and that she and her family were victims of a robbery that night, with her sister corroborating her story and saying her family cooperated with the police.
Despite this, Khumalo has been on the wrong side of Meyiwa’s fans and family. She has has been accused of withholding information that could lead to the apprehension of Meyiwa’s killers because she was at the scene of the incident. She has also been cyberbullied as a result.
(Compiled by Charles Cilliers)