School principal’s assassination: 2 turn state witness

2014-05-29 12:45

Two of the eight men – most of them South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) members – who allegedly orchestrated the assassination of Sadtu whistleblower and school principal Nkosinathi Zondi, have turned state witness against their co-accused.

This morning, only six of the eight – led by alleged mastermind Mfundi Sibiya, department of education regional director for Ugu on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast – appeared in the Umlazi Magistrates’ Court for a brief remand hearing.

Sibiya (54), a former ANC parliamentary candidate and Sadtu provincial secretary, was joined in the dock by alleged hitmen Andile Zulu and Lungisani Makhoba and school principals Lungani Mkhize, Xolani Myeza and Mhlengi Luthuli.

Their appearance lasted only a few minutes and the group will appear in court again on June 26 for an indictment to be served on them by the National Prosecuting Authority. The matter will then be moved to the Durban High Court for trial.

According to police testimony in an earlier bail hearing Sibiya allegedly approached Luthuli, Myeza and Mkhize for assistance in raising money to pay for the killing of Zondi, who had become a threat after informing the authorities about corruption involving school supplies and posts.

State witness Sandile Mzizi, the chairperson of the Khathi High School at Mtwalume, allegedly organised hitmen Makhoba and Zulu to kill Zondi, who was shot five times at his Umlazi home last May.

The duo and the second state witness, Ndolile Shezi, were allegedly paid R12 000 for murdering Zondi, the principal of the Nyonemhlophe High School.

Sibiya and his co-accused entered and left the court through the prisoner cells under the court, despite the fact that Sibiya and three others are out on bail, in a seemingly orchestrated bid to ensure they escaped photographers, who were not allowed into the court complex.

The courtroom was full of members of Sadtu, many of them from its Ugu regional structure, which Zondi chaired at the time of his death. Some of Zondi’s family members, including his brother, S’bu, were also at court.

After the brief hearing, Noligwa Magwaza, Sadtu Ugu deputy chairperson, held a briefing with the Sadtu members present about the hearing. Sadtu in Ugu had earlier held protest marches demanding that the alleged killers be denied bail.

Magwaza declined to comment on the killing and its impact on the union, referring City Press to Sadtu provincial secretary Mbuyiseni Mathonsi. Mathonsi was not available for comment at the time of writing.

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