Murder trial: Lynne Hume asked ‘Are you going to kill me?’

2009-02-10 00:00

BLOEMFONTEIN — Lynne Hume, the estate agent from Ballito whose body was discovered in her burnt-out car near Kestell in the Free State, asked her kidnappers whether they were going to kill her, the state has alleged in its indictment against three men in the Free State High Court.

An application for postponement of the trial by one of the men, Muzi Kunene (45), was yesterday refused by Judge M.H. Rampai.

Kunene, an IT specialist with the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), was recently acquitted of involvement in an NIA e-mail scandal.

Kunene and one of his co-accused, Mphakamiseni Khumalo (21), pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, murder and fraud, saying they have an alibi.

Kunene’s defence is that he was in Pretoria from October 15, 2007, and returned to Ballito only on October 27, advocate Jan Nkhahle said on his behalf.

Khumalo’s defence is that on October 23 and the succeeding days he was minding cattle near Dundee, advocate Nzame Skibi said on his behalf.

Koos Vorster entered a plea of not guilty on behalf of Muikeleni Khoza (26) without an explanation.

The state says in a summary of its evidence that the accused covered Hume (47) with a blanket on October 23 and walked her, with her hands tied, down the steps of an apartment in Ballito, which Kunene was renting from her agency.

All three of the accused and Kunene’s son, Msebenzi, left the luxury security complex with her Volvo and her in Kunene’s BMW and headed for Bethlehem.

At some stage she asked them whether they were going to kill her. They drove to a gravel road near Kestell, where they put her in the Volvo and shot her. The car was then set alight, the state alleges.

They then returned to KwaZulu-Natal, where Kunene gave his girlfriend two cheques for R5 000 and R10 000, signed by Hume, to pay into her bank account and then withdraw the money.

He also gave his son a cheque for R5 000 to cash, the state alleges.

Hume’s charred body was discovered in the burnt-out car the next morning.

Lauren McDonald testified on Monday that in October Kunene visited the rental company M&L, of which Hume and her husband, Mark, were directors. She and Hume shared an office. He was looking for a spacious luxury apartment with adequate security.

He eventually rented the furnished apartment, Sabuthi 153, on the Simbithi golf estate in Salt Rock. Hume finalised the deal with him.

McDonald last saw Hume on October 23 when she went to see some clients. She subsequently received some SMSes from Hume, which she found strange.

The state alleges that Kunene wrote out a R637 350 cheque made out to Hume and/or Pam Golding Estates for the deposit and rental of the apartment for a year. On October 23 the bank refused to honour the cheque as there was no money in the account.

Hume went to see Kunene in his apartment on that day about the cheque and a complaint that the roof was leaking.

In his application for postponement of the trial yesterday, Kunene testified that he has had too little time to prepare for the murder trial.

He has been unable to speak to his witnesses, who will testify about a conspiracy against him. He wants more information from the state in order to prepare himself.

From cross-examination by advocate Amanda Bester, for the state, it appeared that his son is currently in a witness protection programme and will testify against his father.

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