Dying security guard's last act of defiance

2015-04-28 18:13

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Pietermaritzburg - In his death throes, a security guard managed to set off a bomb which sprayed dye over R300 000, which his killers tried to rob from him. The dye made the notes unusable, frustrating the gang.

This emerged in the High Court in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday when an assistant manager of Capitec Bank in Richmond, KwaZulu-Natal testified at the murder, attempted murder and theft trial of three Durban men. 

The dye was a device used by money carriers to thwart robbers. The carrier of the money container would keep a thumb on a button until he had to disarm the bomb. 

Niveshan Naidoo told the court that the security guard, Sicelo Phungula, was busy with his usual task of reloading an ATM with money on January 21 2014 when the robbers attacked. He was shot and Naidoo found him sprawled against a wall of the ATM cubicle.  He was confirmed dead on the scene.

Chaos then erupted in the Richmond centre, with four bystanders wounded by stray bullets as the security van pursued suspects. A woman was screaming that thieves were trying to steal money from the bank.

Crime Prevention Unit Sergeant Ndabasihle Zondi testified that he was in a car with colleagues when he saw an armed man with a money container, which was emitting smoke.

Zondi tried to arrest the man, but he dropped the container and ran after a Corolla from which occupants were firing guns, seemingly at random. Zondi said he fired five shots at the disappearing car, but did not know if he hit it.

He joined colleagues who were pursuing the suspects.

Zondi became emotional when they arrived at a place where there had been a stand-off and found that his brother, Sergeant Thamsamqa Zondi, had been shot dead.

Three suspects were also shot dead in this crossfire, and more suspects arrested.   

The accused - Thulani Doncabe, 40, Siboniso Mpanza, 20, and Sandile Shongwe, 34 - have pleaded not guilty to the five murder charges. 

They are also charged with attempted murders of ten policemen in the shoot-out, as well as the theft of two cars used in the robbery attempt.

The case continues on Wednesday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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