Cops got statement mixed up, court hears

2013-08-07 20:39

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Durban - A witness to the shooting of an IFP supporter told the Durban Regional Court on Wednesday that she had never read the statement she gave to police.

Joyce Mzolo said the police officer who took her statement had "mixed up" everything she told him.

She made this claim when it was pointed out to her that her testimony to the court differed substantially from the statement she had given police.

Mzolo was being cross examined by Simphiwe Moloi, the lawyer for National Freedom Party (NFP) Councillor Mgezeni "Bhungu" Gwala and his son Celimpilo " Gwala.

They have been accused along with security guard Skhumbuzo Nxumalo of shooting Cebisile Shezi dead on 6 October, after IFP supporters converged on his house near the Thembalihle railway station, KwaMashu.

The group went to the 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 he was arrested for allegedly trying to burn down Bhungu Gwala's house. Xulu's body was found the next day. He had been shot.

Statement

Originally another son, Bonginhlanhla Gwala, and another security guard, Sibusiso Ncengwa, were also charged with the murder. The charges against them were withdrawn.

Mzolo said had told the court that two people had initially appeared and started shooting on the crowd outside the Gwalas' house, but in her statement she claimed there were four people, including Gwala's other son Bonginhlanhla.

In her statement she had claimed that Bhungu Gwala was brandishing a firearm and started swearing at the crowd before the shooting.

However, in her testimony she said that only after the shooting did he emerge and start cursing the crowd.

Asked about the discrepancies, she said: "I never read the statement up until today."

Asked why she had then signed the statement, she asked: "If a person says I must sign there, then what must I do?"

She denied embellishing her statement to police because she was angry that Gwala had left the IFP to join the NFP.

The trial continues.

- SAPA
Read more on:    nfp  |  ifp  |  durban
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