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Meyiwa case: Mbatha fears for his life outside prison

Zamokuhle Mbatha has been forced into hiding after charges against him were dropped in the Senzo Meyiwa case.

FILE: Zamokuhle Mbatha has been forced into hiding after charges against him were dropped in the Senzo Meyiwa case. Picture: Thando Kubheka/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The family of Zamokuhle Mbatha who was released after investigators failed to link him to the murder of soccer star Senzo Meyiwa, says he felt safer in prison than he feels outside.

The Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates captain was shot and killed on 26 October while visiting his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo in Vosloorus, sparking the massive manhunt which led police to Mbatha.

The 25-year-old was identified by two separate witnesses and charged with murder and robbery a week-and-a-half ago.

Charges against Mbatha were withdrawn by the state on Tuesday after the prosecuting team decided they didn't have enough evidence against him.

A family representative says it appears as if the police were "desperate" to make an arrest and wrongfully charged him with the crime.

Mbatha's family told Eyewitness News that he's confused and traumatised and that he's currently at a secret location with family in KwaZulu-Natal.

They say he wants an apology from police after they wrongfully arrested him, and told the entire nation they were confident he was the man who murdered the soccer star.

A family member who doesn't want to be named says only the police can clear his name by apologising.

"We're afraid to walk around in the township because we don't know if the community understands that Zamokuhle is innocent."

The family say they have lost all hope in the justice system and believe his life and reputation have been destroyed.

Yesterday, Eyewitness News was informed that two men in plain clothes, who identified themselves as police officers, arrived at the 25-year-old's house.

They were carrying one of the two cellphones confiscated soon after Mbatha's arrest last month.

They apparently wanted to retrieve the pin number for one of the cellphones which belonged to Mbatha's girlfriend.

A woman, who refused to be identified, said the officers refused to give her any further information.

Meyiwa was laid to rest on 1 November at the Heroes Acre Cemetery in Chesterville, KwaZulu-Natal.

Flags flew at half-mast as thousands bid the Pirates goalkeeper farewell at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

People from across the football fraternity, politicians and various dignitaries attended the funeral.