Cemetery shooting: guilty plea

2013-03-29 00:00

A HIGH court judge yesterday described as “macabre” the fact that a murder, attempted murder and an attempted suicide all took place during a funeral near Newcastle in February.

Mlungisi Mdluli (38) pleaded guilty before Judge Achmat Jappie yesterday to shooting dead his aunt (through marriage), Buyi Joyce Radebe, and wounding a man, Nqobile Radebe.

This happened while his late uncle, Duke Radebe, was being laid to rest at Grootgeluk farm at Osizweni, outside Newcastle, on February 17 this year.

Mdluli said that afterwards he tried to shoot himself in the head, but he was disarmed and then assaulted by some of the people who had attended the funeral.

In a statement read to court by his legal aid attorney, Ishi Khan, Mdluli said the reason he shot the pair was that he became anxious when he saw Buyi Radebe talking to two unknown armed men, and recalled that she had threatened to kill him.

According to Mdluli’s statement, his uncle died in Johannesburg and a dispute arose between family members about his burial site.

This led to a row between him and his aunt, and at one stage she had said she would hire a hitman to kill him and his immediate family.

“It was eventually decided that my uncle would be buried at Newcastle. I attended my uncle’s funeral at Grootgeluk farm …

“During the funeral I observed the deceased in conversation with two armed men, both of whom were unknown to me.

“Anxious as a result of the deceased’s previous threat to kill me, I decided to kill her,” he said.

Mdluli said he drew a licensed firearm that he regularly carried and approached Buyi Radebe from behind. At that stage she was standing next to the other victim, Nqobile Radebe.

Mdluli said he fired several shots in her direction and both victims fell down.

“I attempted to shoot myself in the head. My uncle, Sizwe Radebe, dispossessed me of my firearm, whereafter I was assaulted by some of the funeral-goers.”

Mdluli said he later discovered that his aunt died of two gunshots to her head and that Nqobile Radebe was wounded in his back.

He admitted that when he fired the shots he foresaw the possibility that other bystanders could be injured or killed. He had intended to kill his aunt, but had shot Nqobile Radebe by accident.

Mdluli said he was remorseful and prepared to take responsibility for what he did. The case was postponed until Tuesday for sentencing procedures.

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