Witness suspected in S.Africa football captain murder

Witness suspected in S.Africa football captain murder
South African supporters hold a portrait of murdered Bafana Bafana captain and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa during the Africa Cup of Nations 2015 qualifying football match South Africa vs Sudan, at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, on November 15, 2014.

JOHANNESBURG - Police are investigating the possibility that murdered South African football captain and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa knew his killer, a local newspaper reported Sunday.

"Three detectives, who are directly involved in or close to the investigation, told City Press this week that they suspected that one of the people who was socialising with the Bafana Bafana captain was likely his killer," the newspaper reported.

The South African police declined to formally confirm the report, but said their investigation was ongoing.

The newspaper quoted an unnamed detective saying, "I can assure you that a witness who was there during the shooting will soon be taken in for questioning and possibly arrested thereafter." Meyiwa was shot dead at a house about 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of Johannesburg on October 26.

Police billed the incident as a robbery gone wrong.

They said two men, one of them armed, had stormed the home of the footballer's girlfriend. Meyiwa, 27, was said to have to been shot in the ensuing struggle.

A 25-year-old man was arrested and charged with "murder and armed robbery" just days later - but was released when the prosecution admitted there was "not sufficient evidence" to put Zanokuhle Mbatha on trial.

City Press reported that the police were "now doubting the statements made by some witnesses".

The report said detectives had found "significant anomalies" in the various versions of events given to police.

When Mbatha was released last month, a spokesman for South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority said prosecutors were dissatisfied with the "discrepancies, inconsistencies and contradictions" in the evidence collected.

Mbatha's family and friends had been adamant in interviews with local newspapers that police had arrested the wrong man.

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