Problems for the State as it emerges Bongani Ntanzi’s rights read to him only after Senzo Meyiwa confession - with no interpretations

The five suspects accused of former Bafana Bafana Captain Senzo Meyiwa's murder appear at the Pretoria High Court. File Picture: Oupa Mokoena/Independent Newspapers

The five suspects accused of former Bafana Bafana Captain Senzo Meyiwa's murder appear at the Pretoria High Court. File Picture: Oupa Mokoena/Independent Newspapers

Published Oct 26, 2023


There were mounting problems for the State after it emerged in court that accused two Bongani Ntanzi was charged and only had his rights read to him 12 hours after he first made a confession related to the murder of Senzo Meyiwa.

A document handed to the Gauteng North High Court in Pretoria on Thursday - on the 9th anniversary of Meyiwa's death - showed Ntanzi was charged for unlawful possession of a firearm at 10:45pm on June 19, 2020.

He had been arrested in Rustenburg on June 16, 2020, before making a disputed confession at the Moroka police station in Soweto at about 11am on June 19, 2020.

The court is currently in a trial-within-a-trial to determine if confessions made by Ntanzi and Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya were taken freely and voluntarily.

Both accused claim they were assaulted, tortured, and tubed by police officers to make damning confessions implicating them in the Meyiwa murder.

Tubing is an apartheid-era tactic that involves the accused being suffocated with a plastic bag, causing asphyxiation.

Advocate Thulani Mngomezulu for accused one and two revealed a rights sheet from the Phokeng police station which showed Ntanzi had been charged for unlawful possession of a firearm on June 19, 2020, at 22.45.

A rights sheet is a form that explains the rights of an accused. There was also no signature of an interpreter when Ntanzi was arrested.

Ntanzi had allegedly made a confession in relation to the Meyiwa murder to Justice of the Peace officer Lieutenant Colonel Mohale Raphadu at about 11am on the same day.

Said Mngomezulu: “Did he indicate if he was charged in another case”.

“Yes, but I didn't go into the details as I had the knowledge that he was arrested on another case,” said Raphadu.

Legal analyst Nthabiseng Dubazana of Dubazana Attorneys told Newzroom Afrika that any evidence obtained before an accused had his rights read out to him could be deemed inadmissible by a court of law.

Legal commentator Elton Hart from the University of Johannesburg’s Law Clinic, speaking to SABC News, slammed the shoddy police work in the Meyiwa murder investigation.

He said it felt like the police investigation was intentionally being derailed to look like there was an investigation.

Meanwhile, Raphadu told the court that he did not explain to the accused that he was innocent until proven guilty by a court of law and that the confession did not equate to a conviction. He had also conducted the confession without the use of an interpreter, though he told the court he was competent in IsiZulu.

“My understanding is that the confession was still going to be put before a court; I did not presume anything based on the confession,” said Raphadu.

Mngomezulu repeated his clients claim that he had been assaulted, tortured, and tubed, saying he was tubed next to a dumping site in Alberton.

“What I can say, when he was brought to me, he never mentioned anything. He was just free, being a happy person,” said Raphadu.

Mngomezulu also said Ntanzi's first confession was not taken at the Moroka police station, but it had come with investigating officer Brigadier Bongani Gininda, who came with an already-filled confession that was signed and thumb-printed in an open area next to a dump in Orlando.

Raphadu said he had no knowledge of this, and Mngomezulu said the rest of the thumb printing was completed at an office at the Moroka police station.

“He did not make a statement freely and voluntarily append a signature on the statement. He was coerced to append a signature,” said Mngomezulu.

Advocate Zandile Mshololo is expected to cross-examine on Friday.

The five accused in the Meyiwa murder trial are Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi, Mthobisi Mncube, Mthokoziseni Ziphozonke Maphisa, and Fisokuhle Ntuli.

The trial-within-a-trial continues on Friday.