Ntanzi tells court investigator offered him R3 million 'to work with police'.
By Lehlohonolo Lehana.
Bongani Ntanzi, one of the accused in the murder case of former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, stepped onto the witness stand for the first time on Thursday to present his perspective on certain events.
Ntanzi is the defence's second witness to testify in a trial-within-a-trial in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
The trial-within-a-trial, which started in October 2022, seeks to determine the admissibility of confession statements, pointing out and warning statements by the accused.
Five men are on trial for the murder of Meyiwa who was shot at the home of his girlfriend and singer Kelly Khumalo on 26 October 2014. The men are Muzikawukhulelwa Sibiya, Ntanzi, Mthobisi Prince Mncube, Mthokoziseni Maphisa and Fisokuhle Nkani Ntuli.
The men face charges of premeditated murder, attempted murder, robbery with aggravated circumstances, possession of firearms without a licence, and possession of ammunition. They have all pleaded not guilty.
Ntanzi's evidence on Friday, went into sharp focus on his former legal representative, Dominic Ntokozo Mjiyako.
Narrating his story to the court, Ntanzi revealed that he first met Mjiyako, who told the accused that he was there to assist him, on 24 June.
The accused denied that he consulted with the lawyer at a police station in Pretoria, where he was detained, a day before the alleged confession was made.
"I never met Mjiyako on the 23rd," Ntanzi said.
He had earlier told the court that he had terminated the lawyer's mandate.
"I never sat down with this person. And even in court, when I terminated his mandate, I informed the court that this person doesn’t come and visit," the accused testified.
Ntanzi claimed that he had not called anyone, including his family, about needing a lawyer because they did not know that he had been arrested.
"My family got to know about my arrest on the 13th of July, and they were informed by [Jack] Buthelezi. It was on the day I managed to get some clothes to change as well as some toiletries [because] from the 16th June up until 13th of July I hadn't taken a bath."
According to the transcripts and the audio recordings of the proceedings, Mjiyako represented Ntanzi when he appeared in court again on 27 November, 2020.
Mjiyako withdrew his services on 3 March, 2021, two days before Ntanzi returned to court, because he was not paid for his services.
But Ntanzi has alleged he fired Mjiyako because the lawyer told him to enter a plea of guilt for Meyiwa's murder.
The Court also heard that Ntanzi had another lawyer, named Tjia, when he appeared in court on 22 January, 2021, who withdrew her services as well on the day.
Defence attorney Sipho Ramosepele indicated that court records showed that Ntanzi had opted for legal aid in his next appearance scheduled for 2 February, 2021.
"She did not withdraw. I am the one that terminated her mandate," the accused replied.
Ntanzi testified that Tjia was sent by Mjiyako when asked whether he knew the legal firm the lawyer came from.
"She mentioned it in court," he continued.
The accused further told the court on Friday that he terminated Mjiyako's mandate because the lawyer approached him with a R3 million deal with the police.
This was previously denied by lead investigator Brigadier Bongani Gininda, who testified in court that Ntanzi was not offered money in exchange for confessing about Meyiwa's killing.
However, when Gininda testified, he told the court that Mjiyako withdrew his services due to none payment.
Furthermore, Gininda denied offering Ntanzi any money.
"It is absolutely not true, it is a lie. There is no budget that I have to make such an offer. I didn't have a budget of R3m for the unit during that time. Even if it was available, there was no reason for me to do that because he confessed willingly," he said at the time.
Before switching careers, Mjiyako was a member of SAPS working in legal support roles in the transnational commercial crimes and crime intelligence unit between 2010 and 2016.
Gininda testified that when he was investigating the case, he was part of the crime intelligence unit but said he never met Mjiyako before.
"We were not acquaintances and I never worked with him. If he was in the police, I certainly didn't come across him or interact with him on any matter."
The trial continues on Monday with Ntanzi still on the stand.