Court told how trio drowned love rival

2011-03-16 00:00

THE brother of a woman who is one of three accused charged with murdering her alleged love rival told the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday he was present when two men bound and gagged the victim, Banothile Dlamini, using bark from a tree before they threw her into Henley Dam on June 8, 2009.

One of the assailants allegedly pushed her body down with his feet as it repeatedly surfaced and eventually he pinned her down with a log.

Lucky Mthembu described how the victim “tossed and turned in agony” in the water.

Before testifying for the state, Mthembu was warned as an accomplice by Judge Themba Sishi. If he is found to have given evidence honestly the court may grant him indemnity from prosecution.

Skhumbuzo Shezi, a previous state witness who was also warned as an accomplice, was refused indemnity earlier this week when he changed his story after a lunch adjournment and claimed he could not remember what he was supposed to testify about.

The three accused — two women, Zandile Mthembu (23) and Matsepang Molebatsi (30), and a man, Mathonzima Majola (34), all of Dalton — have pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and murdering Dlamini and to assault with intent to grievous bodily harm and robbery with aggravating circumstances of her boyfriend, Siphiwe Dube.

Mthembu’s mother, Mathombi Mthembu (46), was also cited as an accused in the case prior to her death in December 2009.

According to the state’s indictment, a love triangle was the motive for the murder. It alleges that Zandile Mthembu and Dube were previously romantically involved and that he left her for Dlamini.

Mthembu allegedly sought help from her mother, her co-accused and Shezi to kill Dlamini. They allegedly conspired to assault Dube, and are said to be responsible for an attack on him on June 7, 2009.

Under cross-examination by Zandile Mthembu’s advocate, Mohamed Motala, yesterday, Lucky Mthembu said he agreed with his sister that their late mother was “a dominating person”, and that he heard his mother tell Dlamini at the dam: “Today is the day you will die”. Mthembu said that although he did not see his sister try to assist Dlamini, he did overhear her telling the attackers to “let her go”. The case is proceeding.

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