Senzo Meyiwa trial: Heated exchange as defence disputes testimony from data analyst on cellphone evidence

Advocate Charles Mnisi with the legal counsels for the accused in the Senzo Meyiwa trial sitting at the North Gauteng High Court. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Advocate Charles Mnisi with the legal counsels for the accused in the Senzo Meyiwa trial sitting at the North Gauteng High Court. Picture: Oupa Mokoena / Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 18, 2024


Tempers flared when one of the defence attorneys challenged the evidence provided by a cellphone analyst, who testified that the five men accused of killing former Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa were all in communication before and after the murder.

On Thursday, in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, advocate Charles Mnisi attempted to cast doubt on the testimony of Lieutenant Colonel Gideon Gouws, which had been given on Wednesday.

Gouws stated that according to the cellphone data, all the accused were in communication, indicating that they knew each other—a claim they have denied.

Gouws gave his testimony after the court heard that cellphones were recovered from accused two, Bongani Sandiso Ntanzi and accused five, Fisokuhle Ntuli while they were in detention.

He said that from Ntanzi and Ntuli’s cellphones, he learned that all accused in the case were in communication.

On Thursday, during cross-examination by Mnisi, who is representing accused three, Mthobisi Mncube, he asked Gouws whether he had found a link between his client and accused one, Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya.

Gouws asked for a moment to look into his statement because he doesn’t know their names.

After checking his papers, he said he couldn’t find the information.

“Did I give this in my statement,” he asked

Mnisi replied: “No, I’m asking you.”

“If its not in my statement, why must I go look for something that’s not on my statement,” he said, sounding annoyed.

Mnisi said he was going to ask him the same question regarding a link between Mncube and Ntanzi.

“Let me explain,” said Gouws.

Mnisi: “No, did you find any link between Mncube and Ntanzi?”

Gouws: “Can I explain first, Sir?”

“No, I don’t want you to explain, my question is did you find any linkages between accused two and three, you don’t have to explain anything,” said Mnisi, raising his voice.

Gouws said he was not responsible for gathering information on the cellphones and his focus was not on Mncube. He added the focus was on Ntanzi and Ntuli who were found with cellphones while in detention.

However, Gouws admitted that he didn’t find Mncube’s numbers on Ntanzi’s simcard.

“Yes, thank you,” said Mnisi.

Mnisi reminded Gouws on what he said on Wednesday when he testified that all accused were in communication.

Gouws agreed that he made that statement.

“And now you just told the court that you could not find the linkage between accused one and three. So how can you tell the court there was communication between all? How do you reconcile that statement?” asked Mnisi.

“Go read my statement again Sir,” Gouws said.

A back and forth ensued between the two men which led Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng to intervene and he asked Gouws to read the statement again.

Mnisi argued that Gouws previously testified that all the accused were linked and he requested Wednesday’s recording be played in court. Gouws said he can read his statement.

“I’m not talking about your statement, I’m talking about what you said under oath,” said Mnisi.

The recording could not be played due technical issues with court equipment.

Mokgoathleng asked Mnisi to pause his cross-examination regarding the point he was trying to highlight until the court solves the recording issue.

The trial continues on Friday.