Mchunu ‘good for bail’

2016-05-26 11:09
Emily Mchunu

Emily Mchunu (File )

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Pietermaritzburg - Former domestic worker and part-time sangoma Emily Mchunu (52), who is charged with conspiracy and the murder of her employer, well-known businessman Ashraf Mohideen, was on Wednesday granted bail of R10 000 by a Pietermaritzburg magistrate.

Mohideen bled to death in the bathroom of his home in James Niven Road, Scottsville, after he was attacked by intruders and his throat was slit on February 25. Police who arrived at the scene found Mchunu tied up inside the house, and she portrayed herself as an innocent victim of a house robbery gone wrong.

However, Mohideen’s son, Jibraeel, later confessed that he had planned the murder together with Mchunu.

He alleged she had procured two hired killers, Zandisile Mtshali and Joshua Nxumalo, to carry out the killing.

Pietermaritzburg Magistrate M. Boikhutso said yesterday, however, that there were substantial and compelling circumstances that entitled Mchunu to be granted bail pending her trial, including the fact that there was only a “low risk” that she would abscond.

Boikhutso said although the state argued that it has a strong case against Mchunu — based on the evidence of Jibraeel Mohideen and Mtshali — the fact that these witnesses were already convicted and in custody could detract from the strength of the state’s case.

Boikhutso said Mchunu had testified that she is married and has three children and two grandchildren. She had worked for Mohideen for four years before his murder, and earned R2 500 per month. According to her, she enjoyed a good relationship with the businessman and denied she has any relationship with — or knows — her co-accused, Joshua Nxumalo, who the state says is her boyfriend.

Nxumalo has abandoned his application for bail.

Boikhutso said that according to Mchunu, she had “no issues” with Mohideen about her salary. She was satisfied with the money she earned and said she intends to plead not guilty.

Mchunu has no pending cases or previous convictions, and does not have a passport.

Boikhutso said although the state had submitted there was a “high risk” that Mchunu could abscond, in her opinion the risk of this happening is low.

She said Mchunu has family ties in Pietermaritzburg and testified that she had lived in the same house since 1978.

The magistrate also found there was little chance of Mchunu interfering with witnesses, since they are in custody, or that she would re-offend while on bail.

In the circumstances she was a “good candidate for bail”, she said.

Boikhutso set bail at R10 000 on condition that Mchunu reports every day to Plessislaer police station. She also forbade her to enter Scottsville or return to her former place of employement, and warned her not to interfere with any witnesses directly or via a third party.

Mchunu’s matter was postponed to June 15 for her to be indicted to appear in the high court. Her final trial date could be fixed on that day.

Read more on:    court  |  pietermaritzburg  |  murder

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