The trial of the alleged perpetrators of the murder of footballer Senzo Meiwa opens on Wednesday

17:25, April 11, 2022

Senzo Meiwa only played two seasons as the goaltender and captain of the Rainbow Nation football team. A star of the Orlando Pirates of Soweto for many years, this extremely promising young athlete, born in the slums of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, by the age of 30 had everything a young man could dream of: fame and money. Did he want more? What was he looking for in the double life he led with his wife Mandisa and young lover Kelly Khumalo, a trendy young pop singer? In any case, finding her one evening at home with other friends, he will lose his life. In the living room of the villa, in the heart of the wealthy area of ​​the town of Vosloorus, southeast of Johannesburg, two armed men appear and shoot at Senzo. The football player will be entitled to a quasi-national funeral, but only this week will his family and loved ones find out what really happened on October 26, 2014.

After years of zigzag investigation, South Africa hopes to finally get closer to the truth. Is it a failed burglary, as has long been the official story, or did the murder have a motive? Was Senzo really the target and not his girlfriend? And in both cases, who would have ordered the assassination? “I believe that this case definitely symbolizes the real difficulty of building a professional police force that provides collective security and at the same time justice for the victims.says Ziyanda Sturman, director of the Africa Program at J-Pal, a poverty research center, and author of a book published last summer on the future of policing in South Africa. This task is especially difficult in our country, where the police have served legal racism and apartheid violence for so long. »​


Errors and malfunctions at the crime scene

After numerous mistakes and unforgivable errors at the scene of the crime and in the interrogation of witnesses, the pressure of public opinion was such that the police had to start all over again from scratch and with much smaller detectives. “Despite the shortcomings, the investigation identified five suspects, detained them and brought them to justice.emphasizes Gareth Newham, Director of Justice and Violence Prevention at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria. This is important because in South Africa only 15% of criminal offenses end in charges. For too long, police inspectors have not been trained enough to conduct investigations. » Could Nelson Mandela’s ANC, in power since 1994, be responsible for this slowness?

In proportion to its demographics, South Africa is five to seven times more violent than the United States.

On August 15, 1995, fifteen months after taking office, Nelson Mandela had already outlined the scope of the task: “Our success in bringing crime down to tolerable levels will depend on partnerships across all social structures. Crime is our common enemy, and criminals can only survive by taking refuge in the depths of the society they prey on.”, he scored. It must be said that in the twenty years that preceded the overthrow of apartheid and the seizure of power by the ANC in free elections, the crime rate in the country tripled, as a result of which South Africa entered the top five most dangerous countries in the world. . Since the end of apartheid, crime has fallen sharply but remained at particularly high levels before rising again in 2011. Today, in proportion to its demographics, South Africa is five to seven times more violent than the United States, especially for the number of murders and rapes committed each year. All this in a highly corrupt environment that influences investigations and reinforces the sense of impunity.

Investigation in an increasingly violent environment

“In 1999, an attempt was made to create the Scorpions, an elite anti-corruption unit, but in 2006 it was disbanded, purged of the best elements and replaced by the Falcons, a new service that made it possible to rehabilitate officials suspected of corruption.points out Gareth Newham. Since then, the system has deteriorated significantly. » What does this have to do with the murder of Senzo Meiwa? The fact-finding, chaired by Jacob Zuma, ended under his successor, Cyril Ramaphos, a former trade unionist turned millionaire. This happened in a political climate that was becoming increasingly violent and increasingly suspicious of ANC hierarchs and their richest friends. “Only persistent efforts to eradicate corruption and prosecute those accused of it in the strongest courts will restore confidence in its justice to the population.Cut by Ziyanda Sturman. Given the fact that Ramaphosa was Jacob Zuma’s vice president during his disastrous eight years in office, I’m not sure he’s in a better position. This does not mean that you should not try. »​

Read also – South Africa: challenges from President Cyril Ramaphosa after the death of Desmond Tutu

In anticipation of the suspects appearing in the dock, a multi-episode documentary investigation into the Senzo murder was broadcast on Netflix Wednesday Thursday, multiplying revelations about the ongoing gray areas and motives of friends present at the villa. Vosloor eight years ago. Video Cluedo, which risks affecting the work of justices of the peace and their verdict. Nelson Mandela and his friend Desmond Tutu called for justice and reconciliation. But if you don’t have either…

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