Gunman tells court of ‘last-minute’ hit on doctor

2014-03-19 00:00

THE gunman who shot medical doctor Bhavish Sewram last year has described how he waited outside his surgery until the lights were switched off before crossing the road to shoot him three times as he got into his car.

Sabelo Dlamini (29) of Mason’s informal settlement at Copesville pleaded guilty before Judge Isaac Madondo yesterday to Sewram’s murder last May 13. His lawyer said that since the murder he’s lived in fear for his life.

He said he was paid R12 000 after the killing but maintains he did not agree in advance to carry out the assassination but simply acted on “last-minute” orders from his co-accused, Mfaniseni Nxumalo, and former policeman Brian Treasurer.

He said Treasurer drove him and Nxu­malo to the surgery but didn’t tell him where they were going. On arriving at Raisethorpe, Treasurer had stopped the vehicle and the men pointed at the surgery.

“By that time Treasurer produced a firearm, cocked it, gave it to me and said that Nxumalo and I must alight from the vehicle and proceed to the doctor’s surgery, then Treasurer drove the motor vehicle to another place to park it.”

Dlamini said when they were opposite the surgery, Nxumalo said to him that once the lights were switched off the doctor would be closing the surgery and he should go across and shoot him.

“Indeed the lights were switched off and I went across the road towards the doctor’s surgery and the doctor was with another lady. The doctor and the lady got into the car. I then shot the doctor three times using the same firearm which had been cocked by Treasurer,” said Dlamini.

He said after the shooting he returned the gun to Treasurer who drove him and Nxumalo back to Copesville.

On the way, he said, Treasurer had phoned someone saying the job had been done and “the money must be ready, he was going to collect it”.

Treasurer dropped them off and then went to fetch the money. On his return he gave Dlamini R12 000.

According to Dlamini, the first time he heard about a plan to shoot Sewram was on the previous day from Nxumalo.

He said both he and Nxumalo owned brush cutters and would cut grass for people.

On that day, Nxumalo told him that the doctor had hired him to cut grass but later refused to pay him as per their agreement.

“Nxumalo said he and the doctor had quarrelled so he wanted the doctor to be killed. Then Nxumalo asked me to shoot the doctor. I thought he was joking,” said Dlamini.

Dlamini said Nxumalo again called him the next day while he was drinking alcohol, asking him to come to his house. On his arrival, he had found Nxumalo and Treasurer already seated in Treasurer’s car, and they drove to the surgery where he shot Sewram.

Sewram’s widow, Yuvadia, told The Witness later she could not forgive Dlamini for killing her husband, nor did his confession bring her closure.

“He killed the father of my children. He stripped us of everything. Our lives are broken,” she said.

Dlamini’s lawyer, Eric Zaca, said following the murder, Dlamini has been living in fear. “He could not discuss this with anyone else since there were threats against his life. Some people were always guarding him,” Zaca told the judge.

Although conceding that the murder was particularly serious because it was a “hired killing” and Dlamini didn’t even know his victim, Zaca urged the court not to sentence him to life imprisonment.

He said Dlamini was remorseful, had offered an apology to the family of the victim and was capable of rehabilitation.

Advocate Sandesh Sankar for the state said the court has the discretion to decide what a suitable sentence should be for Dlamini.

However, he urged the court to take into account that if given life imprisonment it means that Dlamini will become eligible for parole after 25 years.

If he is given a fixed term of imprisonment, the prison will consider releasing him on parole after he has served half his sentence.

Sankar said Yuvadia Sewram and her father-in-law, Parmanand Sewram, had both declined to give evidence about the impact of the murder on their lives, because they felt too emotionally affected by it.

Judge Madondo is expected to pass sentence on Dlamini this afternoon.

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