Sadtu murder trial date set in Durban

2014-08-26 16:33

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Mfundi Sibiya leaves the Durban High Court after the case against him and five others was postponed to September 5. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya

The six men alleged to have murdered South Coast principal and South African Democratic Teachers Union regional chairperson Nkosinathi Zondi for blowing the whistle on a jobs for cash scam within the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education have made a brief appearance in the Durban High Court.

The six – department of education Ugu (Lower South Coast) regional director Mfundi Sibiya, Ugu school principals Lungani Mkhize, Xolani Myeza and Mhelngi Luthuli and alleged hitmen Andile Zulu and Lungisani Makhoba – spent only a few minutes in the dock before the case was adjourned until September 5 because Zulu needed to get an new lawyer.

He and Makhoba will remain in police custody until the next hearing, at which a trial date is due to be set.

There was a large presence of Sadtu Ugu members and Zondi’s family, who travelled from Mthwalume, where he was principal of Nyonemhlophe Primary School.

Zondi was murdered in Umlazi, Durban, on May 7 last year, less than two weeks after being elected as chairperson of the teacher union’s Ugu region on the lower KwaZulu-Natal South Coast.

His death lifted the lid on alleged procurement and placement scams run by union and department officials.

The killing, and an investigation by City Press into the allegedly nationwide sale of promotion posts by Sadtu officials for R20 000 and upwards, has sparked an investigation into the matter by Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga.

Two other accused – Sandile Msizi, the chairperson of the Khathi High School governing body, who allegedly acted as go-between for Sibiya and the hitmen and a third alleged shooter, Ndolile Shezi – have turned state witness.

The two were not at court.

Sibiya and his co-accused rushed out of the court after the adjournment while Sadtu members held an impromptu briefing on the courthouse steps.

Zondi (46) had taught at Umlazi’s Vukuzakhe High School and at Mid-Illovo before returning to Mtwalume as a principal three years ago.

His family has said that in the days leading up to his death he was concerned about his safety.

The prosecution believes that Zondi had threatened to expose a jobs for cash racket allegedly run by Sibiya. It will argue that Sibiya initiated the plan to kill Zondi, for which the shooters were allegedly paid R12 000.

The group allegedly used their positions to influence who received principal, deputy and other posts at schools in the Ugu circuit and influenced tenders for school feeding schemes and other services.

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