Zondi: shock new claim

2011-11-18 00:00

A MAN who admits having taken part in what he now realises was a robbery of retired Pietermaritzburg academic Professor Samuel Zondi (71) in 2009, said he was shocked and disbelieved it when told that his co-accused, Gugu Ndlovu (34), had later returned to his flat, killed Zondi and set fire to the premises.

Standing trial before acting Judge Jerome Ngwenya and assessors for Zondi’s murder and robbery, as well as fraud arising from the use of his stolen credit card, are Ndlovu, Jabulile Ngcobo (24), Sakhile Hlongwa (20), Mzwandile Mncwabe (20) and Mondli Cele (22). All the accused have pleaded not guilty.

Zondi allegedly had a secret relationship with Ndlovu, who is accused of masterminding the crimes.

Testifying in his defence yesterday, Mncwabe admitted that he took part in what he only now realised was a robbery of Zondi, who was overpowered in his Scottsville flat and bound and gagged with a scarf and a black plastic bag.

However, Mncwabe maintains that when he did so he never intended to perpetrate robbery and that Zondi’s killing was also never part of the plan.

Mncwabe alleged he was approached by state witness Simphiwe Gwala to help “a female” who needed assistance to fetch her property from her boyfriend.

After he was being introduced to Gugu Ndlovu, she asked him and others to help her “remove items” from her boyfriend’s place, saying she was “not seeing eye to eye with him anymore”, he said.

He and the other accused went to Zondi’s flat and gained entry through a ruse by Ngcobo who pretended she wanted to discuss having photographs taken at a function. Zondi let them in.

He, Hlongwa and Cele overpowered the professor, forced him on to his bed, bound his wrists and feet and gagged him.

Mncwabe said that after they left the flat Ndlovu asked that they return to fetch her “doek” (scarf), which had been used to tie up the professor.

They went back with her.

“She took her doek and then we closed [Zondi’s] eyes using a tie,” he said.

Mncwabe said he personally went up to Zondi, untied the doek from his eyes and replaced it with a tie.

"He was alive … he was really moving around because he wanted to untie himself,” he said.

“He opened his eyes and he looked at me … I said nothing to him.

“Gugu was there but she was not in sight at that time.”

Mncwabe denied that he expected to be paid for assisting Gugu. However, in Durban the next day she gave him R900, which he thought was her way of thanking him for his help.

He and the others chose shoes that she intended buying for them, but the shop declined the card.

On September 19 it was revealed to him and others by Simphiwe Gwala that Gugu allegedly had confirmed that she had returned to the flat, killed Zondi and “burnt him”.

He was shocked and “did not believe it”. He said he “did nothing” about this and was arrested three days later.

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