KZN killer laughs at victims in court

2015-07-02 17:36
Siyabonga Khoza looking a little more sombre after he was dressed down by Judge Esther Steyn for laughing while his victims testified in aggravation of his sentence. (Jeff Wicks, News24)

Siyabonga Khoza looking a little more sombre after he was dressed down by Judge Esther Steyn for laughing while his victims testified in aggravation of his sentence. (Jeff Wicks, News24)

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Durban - The High Court in Durban heard how the family of renowned artist Clinton De Menezes, gunned down by home invaders during a New Year’s eve party in 2013, was torn apart by his slaying.

His sister Jacqui Du Randt testified on Thursday in aggravation of sentence of Siyabonga Khoza, Lungani Ngidi and Bongani Makhathini, who were convicted in March for De Menezes’s murder.

The three were also found guilty on charges of housebreaking, robbery with aggravating circumstances and one count of attempted murder.

A fourth accused, Fitso Alimasi, was convicted for his role in receiving stolen goods from a spate of robberies the three committed in Westville.

Du Randt said the murder had left her family in two, with De Menezes’s wife and daughter too scared to return to South Africa.

“My brother and I were very close; it was like we were twins. Even when he moved to London we spoke at least once a week,” she said.

Daughter traumatised

De Menezes, his wife Nicola and daughter Eva had moved to Kenya, and were visiting family in South Africa while on holiday.

“They [the family] were actually planning to return to South Africa and buy a house in Westville and settle down. He was an established artist and because he had a studio at home, he was the one who raised Eva,” she said.

Du Randt added that the impact of De Menezes death was borne by his daughter.

“He [De Menezes] was her whole life and we will never really understand the impact his death has had on her. She has developed psychological issues and has separation anxiety.”

“Nicola was unable to work for a year after he was killed and she has been for extensive trauma counselling and even until now is on prescribed anti-depressants,” she said.

The artist, who lived in Britain and had work exhibited in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, had been lauded as a hero for saving his wife and daughter, locking them in a bathroom and out of harm’s way.

The four perpetrators have been sought by police after a series of break-ins in the plush Durban suburb, with residents reporting a suspicious meter taxi in all of the incidents.

They were arrested after the taxi was pulled over on the N3 as it was leaving Durban.

Khoza, who has a previous conviction for robbery, sat laughing in the dock while other victims testified, and was admonished by Judge Esther Steyn.

No remorse shown - State

State Advocate Mahen Naidu had argued strongly in aggravation of sentence, insisting that the four had shown no remorse.

“They have come before the court with normal circumstances. In the evidence we saw the hallmarks of organised crime. One could see the planning that was involved, how the transport was arranged, how they escaped and how the stolen goods were disposed of,” he said.

“They targeted families who were vulnerable and they were motivated by greed. They targeted houses where they knew the occupants would be home and they were armed, reconciling themselves that they would overcome any resistance that they met,” he said.

Steyn adjourned proceedings to consider the testimony of the gang’s victims, and is expected to pass sentence on Friday.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime

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