Five years after his death, will there be a new investigation team to find Senzo's killers?
October 26 is a hard day for Ntombifuthi Meyiwa, the mother of slain Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, as it marks the fifth anniversary of his death.
Dressed in black to mourn the death three months ago of her husband Sam, the grief-stricken woman is determined to fulfil her husband's dying wish to get justice for his son.
She has now pinning her hopes on National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi after a recent meeting family members had with the Gauteng director of public prosecutions, Andrew Chauke, who has recommended that a new team take over the murder investigation.
“October is a very hard month for us as a family. The family have no idea of any changes in the case. Mom often cries about it because the whole thing just breaks her heart,” said Senzo's cousin, Siyabonga Miya.
In an attempt to get answers about why Meyiwa's murder remains unsolved, Miya met Chauke last month.
Chauke told him that he was not happy with the progress being made by the investigating team and that his office had requested that the investigation team be changed.
Miya said: “He told us they were not happy with the progress and that they suspect that the people who hurt Senzo were in the house and they (the investigators) are not talking that language.”
Meyiwa was gunned down in Volsoorus, east of Johannesburg, in the presence of his girlfriend, Kelly Khumalo, her mother, Ntombi, sister Zandi, Zandi’s boyfriend, Longwe Twala, his friends Mthokozisi Twala and Tumelo Madlala, and their son who was four years old at the time.
Chauke's office confirmed that after several enquiries about the progress made in the case, the DPP met with the Meyiwa family where he “explained the role played by the prosecution in guiding investigations in this matter, the challenges faced by the prosecution as well as the dissatisfaction with the nature of investigations conducted”.
“Adv Chauke further stated that he has made recommendations to the SAPS for the removal of the old team of investigators and the need to appoint a new team,” his spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said.
“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 (National Prosecuting Authority) remains committed to delivering justice and to achieve this objective, the NPA requires thoroughly investigated cases, that can pass judicial muster. 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.”
NPA national spokesperson Bulelwa Makeke said that Batohi is “concerned and unhappy” that the case hasn't been resolved.
“She has had a telephonic conversation with Mr Miya, representing the family to hear their perspective and concerns. But it is critical to emphasise that this is a case of outstanding investigations, which is the responsibility and mandate of the police. There can be no prosecution if there are outstanding investigations from the police, which is the current status.”
“The NDPP has committed to meet with the national commissioner of police to understand what the issues are and to urge for progress to bring the matter to finality.”
Makeke added: “The NPA has no authority to make decisions about the allocation of investigators to cases. That is within the powers of the police, and the national commissioner of police has ultimate authority in that regard.”
When police minister Bheki Cele was asked whether investigators in the case had changed, his spokesperson said: “The minister would like to state categorically that he has confidence in the current team that is investigating the case. Investigations are ongoing.”
Cele last visited the Meyiwa family in August after Meyiwa's father died after suffering a second stroke.
He had been bedridden since suffering his first stroke in August last year. SAPS national spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said he could not comment on whether the investigators working on the case had changed or whether the DPP had made a recommendation for a change in investigators.
The family said it was an emotional time for them as Saturday marked five years since his death.
“All we want is justice. We want this case to be prosecuted because it seems like the investigators are done with their work. We want to know what the holdup is,” Meyiwa's brother Sifiso said.