City taxi boss’s murder: two accused are granted R10 000 bail each

2015-05-22 11:00

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TWO men charged with the murder and robbery of prominent Chase Valley businessman, taxi owner and teacher Clement Bongani Zondi were yesterday granted bail of R10 000 each.

They are Zondi’s former taxi driver Zamokuhle Zungu (31) and a human resources manager, Zibonele Mkhize (49), who is employed by the Msunduzi Municipality.

Afterwards, Zondi’s son Andile toldThe Witness he was satisfied that the law would take its course.

“This [bail] won’t change anything. The investigation will continue,” he said.

Deciding to grant the men bail, despite objections by the investigating officer Willem de Wet, yesterday magistrate M. Boikhutso said on De Wet’s own admission it could be a long time before the case got to the high court and the accused would suffer financial prejudice in the meantime.

However, she imposed stringent bail conditions on the two men including a condition that each of them must report daily to a police station near their home between midday and 2 pm.

She also warned them not to interfere with the investigation or any state witnesses directly, via any other person, SMS, Facebook or in by any other means.

Failure to comply would result in them being re-arrested, she warned.

In his evidence, De Wet had expressed concern that the release of the accused might endanger state witnesses.

He told the court that the day before the bail hearing a witness had received a threatening phone call. He could not link the incident to the accused, but said before their arrest no witnesses had been intimidated.

The witnesses — two of whom are alleged accomplices — have declined to enter a witness protection programme.

Boikhutso said this was an indication that they did not fear for their lives.

De Wet told the court that on the day of his murder, Zondi was in possession of R1 million at his home in Chase Valley, which he had obtained the previous day for the purpose of buying a new bus.

The money disappeared after the murder, but police have not been able to find out what happened to it.

De Wet said police had information that Zungu knew about the R1 million and this was the motive for the robbery, which had been pre-planned.

Mkhize’s role was allegedly to transport some of the attackers to and from Zondi’s residence on the day of the attack.

After Zondi was shot, the killers allegedly panicked, jumped into his white Toyota Hilux bakkie and sped away.

The shooting happened at 5.30 am on January 29 last year as Zondi was preparing to leave for gym.

Both Zungu and Mkhize maintained their innocence at the bail hearing, but did not elaborate on their defence to the charges facing them.

The case has now been adjourned to June 25 pending further investigations

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