N3 gang member jailed

2008-05-18 00:00

A 40-year-old man who was part of a gang that set upon, robbed and murdered a young woman alongside the N3 Church Street off-ramp in April has been sentenced to an effective 20 years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to the charges.

Bongani Elmond Zondi was one of seven suspected members of a gang said to frequent the off-ramp who were arrested by police in connection with the murder of 35-year-old Ntomboxolo Zongile after they ambushed her and her companions, Elizabeth Ndimande and Samuel Ntshalintshali, on April 4.

Zondi pleaded guilty to charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances and murder before Judge Piet Koen in the Pietermaritzburg High Court. His sentences of 20 years’ and 18 years’ imprisonment respectively for the two charges were ordered to run concurrently. Zondi must serve at least 13 years before he can be considered for parole.

Zondi said he was with four others on the day in question.

A few days earlier they had been advised that a truck would be carrying passengers who would have bags of marijuana and other personal belongings, and where they would alight.

Four gang members, including Zondi, armed themselves with knives and one "Kleinboy" had a .38 Special revolver to overcome any resistance.

Zondi said they lay in wait for their victims. When the three alighted from the truck the gang members drew their weapons, emerged from hiding and rushed towards them.

Two of the victims fled in different directions, leaving Zongile behind.

"Before I could reach the deceased, one of my co-perpetrators, who I later discovered to be [Thulani] Zuma, stabbed the deceased and when I reached her, she was already lying on the ground.

"I took possession of a large bag that lay next to her and we fled in different directions. I subsequently discovered that the bag I had robbed the deceased of contained marijuana."

Zondi escaped a life sentence on the grounds that he showed remorse by pleading guilty and voluntarily admitted to a previous conviction, and the fact that he was not the person responsible for the fatal stabbing of Zongile.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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