Gang ‘joked after murder’

2009-01-19 00:00

The Pietermaritzburg High Court heard evidence yesterday that a member of a gang that shot dead 19-year-old Johnny Canos at Pelham Liquors on June 22, 2006, was “cracking jokes” while briefing fellow gang members about the murder as they divided the loot at a tavern in Imbali.

Acting Judge Nompumelelo Radebe and her assessors heard that each gang member got R150 from the proceeds of the robbery.

A man warned as an accomplice, Mncedisi Dladla, said he had been the conductor on a taxi that transported some of the robbers from Durban to Pietermaritzburg to commit the robbery.

He had not known about the robbery until one of the passengers opened a bag while they were driving along the N3 and he saw it contained three firearms.

He became frightened and realised that the men were “up to mischief” and were criminals, he said.

Dladla said an initial plan by the gang to rob Southgate Hardware at Southgate shopping centre was abandoned as one of the gang said a person inside recognised him and waved to him.

Dladla said a plan was subsequently hatched to rob Pelham Liquors. He did not accompany the gang to the bottle store, but was present later when they were dividing the money at Sophie’s Tavern in Imbali.

He said he overheard accused Sifiso Thusi (25) telling the others in a “joking fashion” how one of the robbers, Vusumuzi Ngcobo (27), had murdered a person. Ngcobo responded that the person “did not die”.

“He [Ngcobo] explained that when they pointed firearms, the white person who worked there in the bottle store advanced towards him with a view to grabbing him and in the process he fired at him,” he said.

The five accused, who have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition, are Ngcobo of kwaMashu, Ntokozo Zondi (19) of Imbali, Bheki Nzama (31) of Cato Manor, and Thusi and Zenzele Mkhize (22), also of kwaMashu.

The case is proceeding.

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