20 shots fired at IFP supporters, court hears

2013-10-14 21:23
IFP supporter Cebisile Shezi was shot and killed after returning from an address by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa at a sports field in A-section KwaMashu. (Giordano Stolley, Sapa)

IFP supporter Cebisile Shezi was shot and killed after returning from an address by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa at a sports field in A-section KwaMashu. (Giordano Stolley, Sapa)

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Durban - About 20 shots were fired by a security guard at a group of IFP supporters, the manager of a security company told the Durban Regional Court on Monday.

Themba Mkhwanazi, a manager for Globetech Security, told the court he received a rifle and a pistol from Skhumbuzo Nxumalo on the evening of 6 October 2012.

"I think 13 rounds had been fired from the rifle and seven from the pistol," he said.

Mkhwanazi was giving evidence in the trial of National Freedom Party [NFP] councillor Mgezeni "Bhungu" Gwala, his son Celimpilo "Mjabelelwa" Gwala, and Nxumalo.

They are accused of shooting dead Cebisile Shezi on 6 October, after IFP supporters converged on his house near the Thembalihle railway station, in KwaMashu.

IFP supporters converged on Gwala's house shortly after Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa addressed IFP supporters at a sports field in A-section, KwaMashu, that day. Shezi was wearing an IFP T-shirt at the time.

Mthethwa had been speaking to IFP supporters in an attempt to reduce tension in the area, after the abduction of IFP councillor Themba Xulu. Xulu was out on bail after being arrested for allegedly trying to burn down Bhungu Gwala's house.

Xulu's body was found the next day. He had been shot.

Originally another son, Bonginhlanhla Gwala, and another security guard, Sibusiso Ncengwa, were also charged with the shooting.

Charges against them were withdrawn after it emerged that closed circuit television showed Bonginhlanhla Gwala was at his apartment in Umhlanga and Ncengwa was working in Umbilo, Durban, on the day of the shooting.

Accusations of lying

On Monday, State witness Zamokwakhe Luthuli denied under cross examination that he was lying to the court.

During cross examination it emerged that in his statement made to police three days after the shooting he had claimed Bonginhlanlha Gwala was one of the gunmen.

"You have no interest in telling the truth, even if it means lying to the court," Simphiwe Moloi, who represents the Gwalas, told Luthuli.

The court heard that it was Luthuli who had picked out Nxumalo in police identity parade as one of the three men, who allegedly shot at the crowd of IFP supporters.

Magistrate Trevor Levitt warned Luthuli that "you can't give two versions" of what happened on the day Shezi died.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

Read more on:    nfp  |  ifp  |  nathi mthethwa  |  durban  |  politics

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