Polo star murder accused was angry over phone calls from ex

2012-05-12 00:00

THE man accused of killing South African polo star Sibusiso Duma in Lidgetton also stabbed his girlfriend during an argument over a missed call on a cellphone.

This was heard in the Howick Magistrate’s Court, where 24-year-old Sibongiseni Mchunu was applying for bail yesterday.

It is alleged that Duma, who had dated Mchunu’s girlfriend Smangele Sowotza two years ago, had called her numerous times.

Mchunu, who admitted to stabbing Sowotza, the mother of his eight-month-old child, said he did not intend to kill her.

However, prosecutor Andre de Nysschen disputed this, and said

Mchunu had told her he’d kill her if she did not show him her cellphone.

Mchunu faces three charges, of murder, assault, and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Defence attorney Sibusiso Dladla argued that Mchunu would not be a flight risk if given bail as he had handed himself over to the police.

Mchunu, who has another child living in Richards Bay, said no one would be able to support his children should he be sent to jail as his mother, with whom he lived with before the incident, earned too little to look after them. De Nysschen said he had not been supporting the child, an allegation he denied.

When magistrate Thembinkosi Nene quizzed him about whether he would have to communicate with Sowotza to determine the child’s needs, he said his sisters would do that for him, adding he would not communicate with her in any way.

“Do you still love her?” asked the magistrate.

“Yes, I do,” he replied.

“How then will you not communicate with this person that you say you love?” Nene asked again.

Mchunu said that while he was out on bail, he would not set foot in Lidgetton, and would stay with relatives in Mooi River.

The investigating officer in the matter, Detective Constable Sthembiso Zondi, said that if given bail,

Mchunu might attempt to disappear.

“From the day of the incident, he escaped and was found after five days,” Zondi said.

He said Mchunu had contacted a friend in Mphophomeni following the alleged crime, and had asked him if he could hide there.

“He left the following morning giving his friend the impression that he was going to hand himself over to the police,” he said.

The defence asked for the matter to be postponed so that the investigating officer can verify the address in Mooi River where he would reside if he got bail.

The magistrate agreed. The trial will resume again on Monday.

At the time of his murder, 25-year-old Duma was waiting for a visa to travel to England, where his polo career was expected to take a big step forward.

He was the country’s first developmental polo player to rise to international level.

Duma’s funeral will be held today in Mpendle, and will begin at 10 am.

• lunga.biyela@witness.co.za

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