Kunene linked to woman’s murder

2007-12-04 00:00

BIZARRE circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Ballito estate agent Lynne Hume will result in Muziwendoda Kunene, the controversial figure entangled in the “hoax e-mail” saga, being charged with her murder.

Kunene, a former priest, made an appearance at the Atteridgeville Magistrate’s Court yesterday and state prosecutor Simon Maluleke told the court that Kunene will be charged with the October murder of Hume. Kunene’s eldest son is a witness in the case, the court heard.

Kunene was appearing on a charge of attempted murder after he allegedly shot this son, Msebenzi Kunene, in November.

The matter was postponed to December 10 and Kunene was remanded in custody at the Atteridgeville Police Station.

According to a Citizen newspaper report yesterday, Kunene, who recently faked an attempt on his own life, had been renting a flat at Seaward Estate, Ballito.

They write that when Hume disappeared on October 23, she was on her way to meet Kunene at the upmarket Simbithi Eco Estate where he wanted to rent an apartment.

The daily said the Simbithi Estate access control system noted Hume’s car as having entered the estate, but Kunene later told her colleagues that they never met that day.

Hume’s burnt-out car was found in the early hours of the next morning at Kestell in the Free State. A badly burnt and as yet unidentified body was in the car.

Police yesterday told The Witness there has yet to be a concrete conclusion on the identity of the remains, believed to be Hume’s, and they refused to comment further.

The Citizen said that at the time of Hume’s disappearance, Msebenzi was living with Kunene at Seaward Estate. The paper said police have video footage showing someone resembling Msebenzi making withdrawals from Hume’s bank account after her disappearance.

Police have since seized Kunene’s car, which he thoroughly washed and then left at a friend’s home after Hume’s disappearance.

The Citizen reported that in late October, Kunene contacted the Pam Golding agency in Ballito claiming that he and his wife earned R110 000 per month.

Kunene arranged to rent an apartment at Simbithi, saying he would pay three years’ rent in advance.

The rent at his Seaward flat was, at the time, one month in arrears. Kunene handed a cheque to the agency to cover three years’ rent — well over R600 000 — and received the flat’s keys.

However, shortly afterwards he cancelled the cheque and asked to meet Hume at Simbithi. He claimed to have found faults, including a leaky roof and dangerous floor, in the flat.

Simbithi body corporate sources told the Citizen that the flat has never leaked and has never been repaired.

At 12.21 pm on October 23, Hume is recorded as entering Simbithi. She had no business there that day, other than meeting Kunene. At roughly the same time, Kunene is recorded entering the estate, and then the flat.

Two hours later, an SMS was allegedly sent from Hume’s phone to her office, saying she had to cancel the Kunene appointment to attend to urgent business in Durban.

At roughly the same time, several ATM withdrawals were made in Stanger from Hume’s bank accounts. Police have electronic records of these.

At around 3 pm, Kunene allegedly went to the Pam Golding offices, inquiring after Hume.

At 9.30 pm, Kunene’s car, together with one presumed to be Hume’s, was recorded leaving the estate in convoy, said the Citizen.

At 3 am the following morning, Hume’s burnt-out Volvo was discovered in the Free State, with a badly burnt female body with a single gunshot wound inside.

However, nearly two hours later, an SMS from Hume’s phone was allegedly received by staff at Pam Golding, reports the Citizen. This said Kunene had performed an Internet transfer of cash into the Pam Golding account to settle three years’ rent and would collect his lease in the morning.

However, when business opened, staff noticed no deposit or transfer had been made.

Police confirmed they have surveillance camera footage from banks at Cascades Shopping Centre, allegedly showing a person resembling Msebenzi conducting transactions at a teller, despositing cheques totalling R15 000.

After being seen in Pietermaritzburg, Kunene allegedly drove back to Ballito and called at Pam Golding, demanding a copy of his lease and deposit slip, claiming that Hume was with him when he performed an Internet transfer of cash.

Staff saw that no deposit had been made and refused Kunene’s request. He then allegedly left, apparently angry and making accusations of racism.

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