TIMELINE: The mystery of the Senzo Meyiwa murder, from 2014 to now

Orlando Pirates players salute Senzo Meyiwa at his funeral at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Orlando Pirates players salute Senzo Meyiwa at his funeral at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Published Oct 26, 2023


Today, October 26, 2023, marks exactly nine years since the former footballer Meyiwa was murdered in mysterious circumstances at the Vosloorus home of his girlfriend, Kelly Khumalo.

Initially, it had been believed the murdered captain of Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates succumbed in a botched robbery, but evidence presented in the Pretoria High Court by the Investigating Officer Brigadier Bongani Gininda says the goalkeeper was a victim of a contract killing.

This was revealed when one of the accused, Bongani Ntanzi, applied for bail in April. He was denied bail.

The accused are Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa, and Fisokuhle Nkani Ntuli.

IOL revisits all that has transpired since October 26, 2014, until now.

– October 26, 2014

Meyiwa is murdered on October 26, 2014, while visiting his then-girlfriend and mother of his child, singer Kelly Khumalo, in Vosloorus, Gauteng.

In the house that fateful day were Meyiwa, Kelly, and her younger sister, Zandi; their mother, Ntombi Khumalo; Longwe Twala; Meyiwa’s friends, Mthokozisi Thwala and Tumelo Madlala; and Kelly’s then four-year-old son, Christian; and Thingo, Kelly’s daughter with Senzo.

The North Gauteng High Court hears in September 2023, how one of the accused, accused two Ntanzi, took unpaid leave for five days on the Monday after the death of Meyiwa.

Hendrik Louis Mulder, a human resources manager at Sibanye Gold, said Ntanzi was employed at Driefontein mine in Carltonville as a labourer from April 18, 2009, until February 18, 2018.

He was dismissed for absconding.

From October 26 to November 1, 2014, Mulder explained that there were no records of Ntanzi being on the premises.

Furthermore, Mulder said that Ntanzi applied for unpaid leave for five days, from October 27 to October 31, 2014, which was approved by the company.

– October 28, 2014

Police release identikits of the two men believed to be behind the killing of Meyiwa.

A reward of up R250,000 is also offered for information that could lead to the arrest and conviction of the killers.

Identikits compiled by police artists of two men sought in connection with the killing of Senzo Meyiwa.

– October 31, 2014

Police arrest Vosloorus resident, 27-year-old Zamokuhle Mbatha, in connection with the murder of Meyiwa. Mbatha is known to the Khumalo family. He is later released due to insufficient evidence. It later emerges Mbatha used to wash Meyiwa’s car. He is currently suing the State for unlawful arrest and detention.

– November 1, 2014

Meyiwa is buried in a government-funded provincial official funeral at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. Thousands come out and a promise is made by former KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu to make a statue of the footballer.

Thousands of people gathered at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, to pay their last respect to the late Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa. Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

To date, it is unfulfilled and there has been no word on it since. He is laid to rest at the Heroes Acre Cemetery in Chesterville, Durban. His customary wife, Mandisa Mkhize, and his father, Sam Meyiwa, are chief mourners.

Mandisa Mkhize says her final goodbye to her husband, Senzo Meyiwa. Picture: Sibusiso Ndlovu/Independent Newspapers

– November 11, 2014

Zanokuhle Mbatha makes his second appearance at the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court where charges against him are withdrawn due to lack of evidence.

Despite dropping charges against Mbatha, officers return a day later seeking the PIN for a cellphone belonging to Mbatha’s girlfriend.

November 2014

Traditional healer Lionel Zwane was approached by one of the accused for traditional medicine to assist with a “job”. Zwane, who is illiterate, is understood to have not known that the job was actually a hit on Meyiwa. He had no recollection for dates.

He said the man who approached him was a “Sibiya”, described him as tall. He could not identify him from the dock, but he testified that the man returned after the “job”, saying someone got hurt and he gave them remedies. Zwane was detained by the police and he identified Sibiya at the police station.

– February 2015

Accused three Mncube is arrested by Cleveland SAPS in connection with the murder of Alexandra taxi boss Reggie Mohlala. At the time of the arrest, the dots are yet to be connected to the Meyiwa murder. Ntanzi’s firearm, believed to be the same one used in the Meyiwa murder, according to ballistic experts Chris Mangena, is found in the house.

November 2015

Premier Soccer League chairman Dr Irvin Khoza reveals to the media that a R5 million insurance payout on the life of Meyiwa has been paid out to the Orlando Pirates FC.

R2 million was paid to the club, while the remaining millions were paid to a guardian fund for the former footballer’s three children. Meyiwa had three daughters, one from a previous relationship, one with his customary wife Mandisa and another with Kelly Khumalo.

January 2016

Sam Meyiwa, the father of footballer Meyiwa, is growing frustrated at the lack of progress in investigating his son’s death. Meyiwa Sr hears on radio that police minister Nathi Nhleko will be at the Durban Beachfront on New Year’s Day. He drives there to demand answers from the minister.

Sam Meyiwa leading the families with Senzo's coffin waving at the fans and supporter at Moses Mabhida stadium. Picture: BONGANI MBATHA/Independent Newspapers

He only managed to get the audience of police commissioner General Khomotso Phahlane.

“It really breaks my heart that everyone’s life is going on as normal but my family still has no closure on who killed my son. It seems like the justice system of this country has turned its back on us. So soon, people have forgotten what Senzo did for this country”.

April 2017

Former police minister Fikile Mbalula - who is now the secretary-general of the governing African National Congress, promised Senzo’s father that when he was appointed police minister in 2017 that one of his top priorities was to crack the Senzo murder case. No arrests were made under Mbalula’s administration.

He was replaced by police minister Bheki Cele, who Sam Meyiwa approved of.

March 2019

Zanokuhle Mbatha sues the police minister and the National Prosecuting Authority, demanding R17.7m as compensation. His legal team files papers at the South Gauteng High Court.

July 29, 2019

After five years of seeking justice for the murder of his son, Meyiwa Sr dies a broken man at his uMlazi home. He had been bedridden after suffering a stroke in August 2018.

The stroke, his family said, was partly brought on by the stress of trying to get justice for his son.

– October 27, 2019

Sifiso Meyiwa, the brother of the late Senzo and his cousin, Siyabonga Miya, hold a media briefing and announce that they have approached Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum for help in solving Senzo’s case.

– November 6, 2019

AfriForum chief executive Kallie Kriel briefs the media with regard to the Meyiwa’s murder investigation. He announces that they have appointed head of its private prosecution unit, Gerrie Nel, as the family’s advocate in the investigation into Meyiwa’s murder.

Sifiso Meyiwa and AfriForum's advocate Gerrie Nel at the announcement of the new strategy into the case that has stalled for five years. Picture: AfriForum

May 30, 2020

Accused one, Sibiya, is arrested in Thembisa. He is kept in custody at the Villiera police station in Pretoria.

June 5, 2020

Accused one, Sibiya, makes a confession and pointing out statement before Justice of the Peace Officer Lieutenant Colonel James Hadebe at the Alberton police station. He claims he is tortured.

– June 16, 2020

Accused two, Ntanzi, is arrested in Rustenburg. He is detained at the Pretoria North police station.

– June 19, 2020

Accused two, Ntanzi, makes a confession statement before Justice of the Peace Officer Lieutenant Colonel Mohale Rapadu at the Moroka Police Station. He claims he is tortured.

June 24, 2020

Accused two, Ntanzi, makes another confession statement before Magistrate Vivienne Cronje at the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court.

Magistrate Cronje makes an audio recording of the proceedings without informing Ntanzi or his lawyer, Dominic Mjiyako. In October 2023, Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng rules that the recording cannot be admitted into evidence as it infringes on the rights of the accused.

Accused two Bongani Ntanzi during his bail application at the High Court in Pretoria. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/ Independent Newspapers

– October 20, 2020

Unconfirmed media reports swirl around the arrest of the Meyiwa murder suspects. News24 reports that a gun which has been positively linked to the killing of Meyiwa has been found in Cleveland police station and it has also been used in the murder of a taxi boss three months after the soccer star died.

According to News24, the suspect was reportedly convicted of the taxi boss murder and sentenced to 30 years. This suspect later turns out to be accused three, Mncube.

October 26, 2020

On the sixth anniversary of Meyiwa’s death, police minister Bheki Cele announces that five suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder of Meyiwa. Cele said the arrests were made between Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

The men subsequently appear at the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court, where the matter is postponed to November 27.

October 27, 2020

A document erroneously sent to the media by the NPA puts singer Kelly Khumalo at the front and centre of the Meyiwa murder case. The document was released to the media along with the charge sheet for the case of the five suspects who were arrested, linked with the murder.

It shows Colonel Gininda of the SAPS’ cold case unit instructing the investigating officer to outline at least 10 tasks linked with the Meyiwa murder investigation, of which two of the items on the document concern the musician.

Gininda requests statements or affidavits relating to how the police obtained confessions from two people. It also requests cellphone communication between the accused before, during and after the commission of the crime, cell tower locations and the automatic vehicle locations of a VW Polo believed to have been used as an escape car during the Meyiwa.

Pertaining to Khumalo, the document requests for the singer’s cellphone records. The document also calls on more information about a particular loan that may have been taken to fund the murder of the goalkeeper. The NPA at the time said the document had been released to the media ‘by mistake’.

– November 27, 2020

The five murder accused - Sibiya, Ntanzi, Mncube, Maphisa and Ntuli appear at the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court and their matter is postponed to March 2021. They claim they are not responsible for the murder and they refuse to stand in the dock.

Five suspects appear at the Boksburg Magistrate Court appear at the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court for the murder of the late former captain of Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News agency(ANA)

– March 5, 2021

The five accused appear in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court, where their matter is transferred to the High Court.

Bongani Ntanzi dropped his lawyer for allegedly forcing him to confess to a crime he says he didn’t commit. The lawyer is not named in the report, but it is believed this could be the Mjiyako who was present when Ntanzi signed his second confession before Magistrate Cronje.

From there, the men make several appearances in court until the trial date is set for April 11, 2022.

March 17, 2022

Four of the accused, Sibiya, 34, Ntanzi, 30, Mncube, 36, and Maphisa, 35, appear in the Pretoria High Court where they inform Judge Tshifiwa Maumela that they have dropped their lawyers and have appointed advocate Malesela Teffo ahead of the trial.

Teffo also tells the court that he wants the case to be re-opened and all the people who were present on the night Senzo was murdered to be arrested and charged with perjury.

The fifth accused, Ntuli, was not in court. He is later represented by advocate Zandile Mshololo.

– April 7, 2022

Accused one, Sibiya, 34, is sentenced to 12 years in prison for attempted murder in another case just days before the Meyiwa trial resumes.

The NPA said: “This is after he was convicted for the attempted murder of Ntombenhle Ndaba and Mfanelo Mbatha whom he attacked in a hail of bullets, but miraculously they survived.

“He was also accused of shooting his girlfriend in December 2014 after she threatened to blow the whistle on him for his alleged involvement in the murder of Meyiwa, of which he had apparently confided in the girlfriend.”

April 11, 2022

The trial gets off to a shaky start after Judge Maumela rolled the matter over to Tuesday, to allow advocate Mshololo, representing Ntuli, to consult her client.

Mshololo had complained that she had not had enough time to consult her client.

April 2022

Advocate Nel says he is convinced police have the right people, but he says more people could have been arrested.

“I would have expected other people to be with them because I have said it all along. I do not believe that this was a robbery that went wrong,” Nel spoke to journalists as he walked into court with some Meyiwa family members he represents.

– May 2022

One of the police officers in the Meyiwa murder investigation, Brigadier Philani Ndlovu, is poisoned and he dies. He was one of the first senior police officers on the murder scene.

Vosloorus residents Thabang Makeleni and Simphiwe Ngwenya, the two young men who helped police construct the identikits and who saw the suspects running on foot towards the park, have since died. Makeleni was poisoned in July 2019, while Ngwenya was shot dead under a cloud.

June 2022

Tumelo Madlala, one of Meyiwa’s friends who was in the house, identifies accused two, Ntanzi as one of the two suspected gunmen who were in the house when Meyiwa died.

– September 2022

The Legal Practice Council has struck advocate Teffo off the roll following 22 complaints against him. The court heard it was in the interest of the public and the legal fraternity not to allow him to practise law any further. Some of the adverse findings the court had made against Teffo, was that he was dishonest and lacked integrity.

Advocate Malesela Teffo during the Senzo Meyiwa trial at the Pretoria high court. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/ Independent Newspapers

– September 2022

After a 3-year-long feud, the Khumalo sisters, Kelly and Zandile, have made amends. The sisters were seen together for the first time in some of the photographs that Zandile shared on her social media.

More here.

April 2023

Meyiwa trial Judge Maumela is among a number of presiding officers facing suspension over delayed judgments.

Accused two Ntanzi has his bail bid turned down in the Pretoria High Court.

July 18, 2023

Retired Judge Mokgoatlheng has been appointed to preside over the high-profile Meyiwa murder trial, taking over from Judge Maumela who was suspended by President Cyril Ramaphosa last week. The Meyiwa murder trial starts from scratch and all prior evidence is deleted from the record.

Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng during the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial at the Gauteng North High Court in Pretoria. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

July 2023

Ntanzi and Sibiya claim torture at the hands of police after being arrested in Rustenburg and Thembisa, respectively. Sibiya says police even drove him home to KwaZulu-Natal, where they allowed his family to see him in the back of the police van. He claims he was tortured, tubed and assaulted.

July 27, 2023

Colonel Lambertus Steyn, a specialist police officer with extensive analytical experience in analysing cellphone data, told the court that call records showed Kelly Khumalo had been in contact by phone, with one of the men accused of murdering Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Meyiwa.

Colonel Steyn, who is an analyst at the SAPS Cold Case Unit, said Khumalo had been in contact with accused 5, Ntuli on two occasions between August and October 2014.

– July 28, 2023

Accused three, Mncube, is revealed to have had dreadlocks at the time of Meyiwa’s death. Pictures on his own cellphone, which was confiscated and downloaded at the time of his arrest in February 2015.

– August 2023

The court hears how none of the people in the house called the police or emergency services when Meyiwa was gunned down.

Police officers who were alerted to the shooting by neighbours respond swiftly to the call. They arrive at the Khumalo household and they do not secure the crime scene. One of the police officers admits that it was only when they saw Meyiwa’s dead body at the hospital that they realised they were dealing with a murder crime scene.

Judge Mokgoatlheng also criticised the police for the poor handling of the crime scene.

– October 2023

According to expert DNA analysis, none of the accused could be placed in the Vosloorus house.

A trial-within-a-trial to determine if confessions made by accused one and two - Sibiya and Ntanzi - kicks off. The defence scores an early victory as the court rejects an audio recording of a confession after the magistrate made the recording without informing the accused that they would be recorded.

October 26, 2023

Proceedings adjourn early on the 9th anniversary of Meyiwa’s death. Meyiwa was gunned down on this day, nine years ago.

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