Political killing: new arrest delays trial

2010-08-31 00:00

THE recent arrest of a fifth accused charged with the murder of ANC supporter Zimisele Hlongwane and attempted murder of seven others who were celebrating the ANC’s election victory at Swayimane last year, has delayed the start of the high court trial.

The court appearance by IFP accused Zwelempi Gumede (71) and four family members, Funinkosi Gumede (41), Mpathiseni Gumede (29), Busani Gumede (21) and Qaphelani Gumede (33), drew a large crowd of onlookers in the public gallery of the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

The case was postponed until February 21, next year, for trial after the court was told that Qaphelani Gumede was only arrested a week ago and is not prepared for trial.

The court is to hear a bail application by three brothers, Funinkosi, Mpathiseni and Busani Gumede, in the near future.

The three withrew their bail application last year following protests by the local community whenever they appeared in court in connection with the case.

The oldest accused, Zwelempi Gumede, was granted bail in November last year in terms of an agreement reached with the state on grounds of his age, and the court heard that the newly added accused, Qaphelani Gumede, was granted bail by the Camperdown court shortly after his arrest.

The state alleges that the accused — who are all IFP supporters, and one of whom was an IFP councillor in the area — were angered by the ANC’s election victory celebration on April 27 last year.

They allegedly gathered at the home of Zwelempi Gumede where they decided to kill the ANC supporters to stop the celebration.

It is alleged they armed themselves with firearms and lay in wait for the ANC travelling in a motor cavalcade through the district.

They thereafter opened fire on them, shooting Zimisele Hlongwane in the left lung and heart and killing him and wounding six women — Sindisiwe Mnyandu, Gladys Gcumisa, Nomkhosi Phakathi, Thenjiwe Gwala, Nonhlanhla Kweyame and Phumzile Mnyandu, and one man, Njabulo Mkhize.

 

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