Sister tells of mob attack

2009-11-05 00:00

A WOMAN who has already spent more than a year in a witness protection programme gave evidence in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday at the trial of eight accused — including two 17-year-olds — charged with taking part in a mob attack on her twin brothers.

They allegedly killing one brother and wounded the other at Hopewell near Thornville on February 7 last year.

A ninth accused, Andreas Vusumuzi Mkhize (34), jumped bail. The others have all pleaded not guilty before Judge Anton van Zyl and assessors to the murder of Andile Shabane (18) and attempted murder of his twin brother, Ayanda Shabane, who was stabbed, but survived.

It is alleged that Andile Shabane had been arrested and charged with the murder of a fellow pupil, Sbongiseni Phakathi, at Mlulama High School, and that his killing while on bail was in revenge for that murder.

Andile’s oldest sister, Thembeka (35), testified that Andile’s friend, Matsatsela Mtolo, who was also a suspect in Sbongiseni’s murder, has also since been killed.

She identified one of the youths on trial as having been among the group of assailants who came looking for her brother two nights in a row.

He had threatened her with a knife, holding it over her in his clenched fist as she lay on her bed, on the night her brother died.

She said he and another boy burst into her room by kicking open the door when they heard her making a phone call to a councillor’s wife. She threw her cellphone under the bed and told them she did not have a phone.

They left her room and went over to the main house, where her twin brothers and mother were sleeping.

Thembeka said there were “many boys” on the stoep and around the house. They were holding torches and some were striking the kitchen door. They succeeded in kicking it open. Some entered and others stayed in the doorway.

She said she followed the group and saw the youth who had threatened to hit her mother, causing her to fall.

“They went to the room where Andile and Ayanda were sleeping. Ayanda and Andile were no longer there as they had run away into a small passage.”

She said she saw the youth with the knife raise his weapon and stab Ayanda in his shoulder, and she retreated “fear-stricken” by the sight.

She then heard people shouting that “he was escaping through a window” and saw Andile fleeing towards a nearby dam. Thembeka said some of the mob chased after him.

She will proceed with her evidence today.

The state alleges that both Ayanda and Andile escaped from the house and fled to the dam where they hid. When they emerged to return home, they were attacked by the accused and ran in separate directions.

While Ayanda was rescued near the dam by community members, Andile was allegedly discovered hiding at the residence of the Khoza family, tied up with an electric cord and taken to Mlulama school where he was assaulted and killed “with an assortment of weapons, which included bush knives and battle axes”.

The accused whose names can be published are Qikelela Mkhize (30), Foreman Sithole (19), Mthobisi Phungulu (23), Nazia Soni (27), Mhlekazi Shezi (29) and Xolani Madondo (23).

Soni and Shezi were allegedly employed as security guards at Mlulama High School at the time of the incident.

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