Noose tightens around men accused of lesbian’s murder

2009-10-02 14:02

THE noose has tightened around the necks of the nine men accused of

killing Zoliswe Nkonyana.

This is after a state witness gave damning evidence to the

Khayelitsha Regional Court and Magistrate Raadiya Whaten ruled that a confession

produced by one of the accused was admissible in court.

The confession resulted in a trial within a trial this week after

defence attorney Afzal Vallie, who is appearing for accused number four, Sicelo

Mase (21), argued that it had been obtained under duress.

The testimony of the state witness incriminated all nine of the


Testifying out of the public gaze in a private room into which only

court officials, reporters and the families of the accused and of the deceased

were allowed, the witness told how on February 4 2006 she had pleaded with

accused Mbulelo Damba (21) and Luyanda Londzi (21) not to drop a large rock on

the head of Nkonyana, who was then aged 19.

The witness – who cannot be named – told the magistrate that on the

day of the murder she was in a shebeen drinking with the nine accused and three

female friends.

She said when she and a friend were in the toilets, Nkonyana and a

friend, Phindiswa Mangxala, entered. She told them they should use the men’s

toilets because they acted like men.

The witness said that when she and her friend left the toilets,

Nkonyana and Mangxala were waiting for them.

She said Nkonyana made sexual advances to her and slapped her when

she refused to “go with her”.

She said immediately after the assault, she and her friend went

inside and called the nine accused.

“The one who came out first was Sicelo (Mase), then others came

running and asked what Zoliswa (Nkonyana) had said.”

The witness said the nine men “started klapping (hitting) her” and

Nkonyana started running.

“They caught her next to a school. Although I was far, I could see

from a distance that they were beating her, making up and down movements.

“As we were running towards where Zoliswa was (being) beaten, seven

of the accused ran away and two of them were left behind,” the witness told the


The two accused who remained behind were Damba and Londzi.

“They were trying to pick up a big rock from a yard nearby, but I

pleaded with Mbulelo to stop what they were doing and they listened to me and

ran towards the seven other accused.”

She said Nkonyana was left lying in the gutter as her blood flowed

down the street.

When state prosecutor Alfred Isaacs interjected, asking what she

had thought the accused were going to do to Nkonyana after she had called them,

she said: “I thought they were going to just beat her up and leave her.”

She said after the incident the nine accused gathered on a street

corner a few metres away from the scene, where they came across a visibly drunk

man, Zolani Phato, and stabbed him.

Phato testified earlier this week that he was stabbed by a group of

men, but said he was too drunk to identify them.

The witness said they went to a house in Khayelitsha’s Ilitha Park,

where they discussed what they had done.

She said Lubabalo Ntlabathi (20), told the group that he had

stabbed Nkonyana and had then given the knife to Mfundo Kulani (19) “to finish

her off”.

The witness said she had asked the accused whether they knew the

person they had just killed was a lesbian. They had responded in the


All nine accused have pleaded not guilty. Eight of them are being

kept in custody, while Londzi is out on bail.

The other accused are Themba Dlephu (21); Zolile Kobese (21); Anele

Gwele (24); and Sabelo Yekiso (21).

The case continues. – West Cape News

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