Four accused of murder, robbery appear in court

2010-05-18 00:00

FOUR men face trial in the Pietermaritzburg high court for the murder of Greytown businessman, Mohamed Sayed, as well as a member of their gang, Mandla Emmanuel Majola, who died during a gun battle with Sayed.

The two died during an armed robbery at Sayed’s home in Greytown on June 1, last year.

The four accused, Mondli Zuma (27), Sifiso Mazibuko (32), Simphiwe Cebekhulu (35) and Thokozani Mzila (35) pleaded not guilty before Judge Mohini Murugasen and assessors yesterday to two counts of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, and (Mazibuko only) to unlawful possession of a .32 revolver and ammunition.

Mzila, who was employed by Sayed as a security guard at the time, said while he was on duty at the property on the night of the attack and was not part of the gang.

The other three remained silent.

State advocate Nqobile Maphalala told the court that the prosecution will set out to prove that the accused believed Sayed kept money in his house, and planned to rob him. They gained entry by pretending to be police officers.

Maphalala said the state will rely on a statement made to a commissioned officer by Zuma (which will be disputed by the defence) as well as the testimony of someone who was party to the planning of the robbery.

The court will also hear evidence that the accused kept in contact by cellphone during the planning and execution of the robbery, and cellphone records will be produced to prove this.

According to the indictment, Sayed owned a grocery store in Pietermaritzburg but lived in Greytown. After his arrival at his York Road home on June 1, 2009, it is alleged that Mzila — who was on duty as a security guard — opened the gate for the other assailants.

The gang allegedly robbed Sayed and two employees, Nomusa Madonsela and Kwini Mbeje, at gunpoint and stole a pair of diamond earrings, a gold lady’s wrist watch, and three Nokia cellphones.

After taking these items, they allegedly demanded money from Sayed, who refused to give them money. The men then began shooting at him, and Sayed shot back. This resulted in the death of one of the gang, Majola, who died in hospital of a gunshot wound to his neck.

Sayed died at the scene of a bullet wound in the chest.

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