Six men in court on highway murder charges

2008-04-08 00:00

Six men appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday, and a seventh was remanded in absentia in connection with the murder of a 35-year-old woman next to the N3 Church Street off-ramp last week.

The accused are charged with the murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances of Nonkosi Zondi, and the robbery with aggravating circumstances of her friends, Samuel Ntshalitshali and Elizabeth Ndimande.

Two of them, Mvelo Mathonsi (18), and Bongani Elmond Zondi (40), told magistrate Ashin Singh that they intend to plead guilty.

The other accused — Sandile Zuma (18), Thulani Nathi Zuma (25), Sipho Zikode (23) and Bongani Mbhele (25) — all said they intend to plead not guilty.

The seventh accused, Msizi Nkosinathi Luthuli (18), was not brought to court by police.

The case was postponed to April 14 to allow the accused to apply for legal aid.

A number of the accused complained of having been assaulted in police custody at Mountain Rise police cells and asked Singh to order that they not be detained there.

Singh told them to lay charges against the police if they had been ill-treated.

Asked if they had previous convictions or outstanding cases, Bongani Zondi admitted that he was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for robbery previously and released in 1994.

Thulani Zuma admitted two previous convictions — one for a driver’s licence offence and another for possessing an unlicensed firearm in 2003.

Zikode admitted a previous conviction for housebreaking for which he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, which was converted to correctional supervision dating back to 1999.

Police said at the weekend they are investigating further possible charges against the seven accused, who allegedly frequented the N3 area.

Police asked anyone with information to contact Inspector Vusi Shabangu at 033 387 9630 or 082 308 0234 or Captain Pat Haffajee at 083 231 6496.

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