The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Saturday said court witness General Philani Ndlovu’s death will not derail the trial of five men accused of the murder of football star Senzo Meyiwa.
All the accused – Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Bongani Ntanzi, Mthobisi Mncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa, and Sifiso Ntuli – have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Meyiwa in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
The former Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper was murdered in October 2014 at his then-girlfriend, singer Kelly Khumalo’s Voosloorus family home. Meyiwa was only 27 when he was fatally shot.
General Ndlovu, who died on Wednesday, was among the first on the scene of the murder.
Reports suggesting the trial would be prejudiced by General Ndlovu’s demise have been doing the rounds on social media.
However, NPA Regional Spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana said: “The NPA takes note of the reports of the passing of Gen Ndlovu, and we express our condolences to his family.
“With regard to the Meyiwa case; Gen Ndlovu is not regarded as a crucial witness.
“His role was limited to his presence at the place of the incident and the management of the crime scene.”
The NPA said it should be noted that General Ndlovu’s statement had not been obtained by the investigators.
“There are several other witnesses who will give relevant evidence on the merits of the case,” said Mahanjana.
“The State is still confident that it has sufficient evidence to ensure a successful prosecution in this case.”
The murder trial has been marred by controversy with the arrest of Advocate Malesela Teffo after the last sitting.
Advocate Teffo, who is out on R10 000 bail, is representing four of the men accused of Meyiwa’s murder.
The defence lawyer has since warned his scheduled appearance in the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court for the matter he was arrested for were clashing with the next appearance of his clients.