Meyiwa: Go back to basics
HAT a tangled skein the Senzo Meyiwa murder investigation is turning out to be. And, as has been the case lately in several highprofile probes, the police are emerging with egg on their face.
After 10 days of the nation being reassured that the police had nabbed the right man in the October 26 slaying of the beloved soccer player and captain of the national soccer team, the charges were withdrawn at the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
The spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority had scathing words to describe the charge against Zamokuhle Mbatha – insufficient evidence, discrepancies, inconsistencies and a lot of contradictions in witness statements. Just as well the case was withdrawn, otherwise it would have been laughed out of court. As presiding magistrate Daniel Thulare commented afterwards, courts are there to prosecute, not to persecute.
Questions now arise about what the police hoped to achieve by presenting such a half-baked case. Sources have told this newspaper that only two out of seven witnesses at the identity parade fingered Mbatha as a suspect in the murder.
Surely a conviction would require more than a positive identification at a parade. Suspects must be positively placed at the crime scene through forensics – fingerprints, DNA, etc. A positive link to the murder weapon would be the crowning glory for the prosecution.
Rushing to court on such flimsy evidence is amateurish, inept and, dare we say, pandering to society’s emotions. As English jurist William Blackstone in his seminal 18th century treatise
wrote: “It is better that 10 guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”
The police are confident that they did not make a mistake. If that is the case, let them go back to basics and build a solid case. There are simply no shortcuts to a successful conviction.
Meyiwa’s family deserve to know who shot him on that fateful night in Vosloorus. They deserve closure to this sad chapter.