Shongweni, Mariannhil killings suspects in court

2010-11-05 11:09

There was anger in the Pinetown Magistrates Court on Friday when news photographers were prevented from taking pictures of a man accused of having been involved in the killing of 10 people in Shongweni and Mariannhill.

Photographers did not get the opportunity to take pictures of the 22-year-old, despite the magistrate having granted them permission to do so.

“The magistrate allowed us to take pictures but the court manager told us we had to get permission from the justice department,” said one reporter.

The process took too long and when they finally got the permission, it was too late. The man was leaving the courtroom when they arrived.

The case was postponed to November 17 for a bail application. State prosecutor E Khuzwayo said the State would oppose his bail.

The man looked tense and tired during his appearance in court. He will be kept at the Cato Manor police station until his next appearance.

He was charged with six counts of murder and one charge of rape. The man, who handed himself over to police in Pietermaritzburg on Wednesday morning, may not be named until he has pleaded to the rape charge.

Only the relatives of the 10 people killed in the recent Shongweni and Mariannhill murders were allowed into the court.

“Only relatives will be allowed to attend the court proceedings because there is not enough space here,” Magistrate Jeff Ga told the scores of people who packed the room.

Police believe the Shongweni and Mariannhill killings are linked and that they entailed pure criminality.

Among the dead were two boys, Thalente and Mthobisi Zulu, aged two and eight. The victims in the other charges were named as Thabani Zulu, 18, Nokuthula Zulu, 22, Sthembiso Nxusa, 29, and Ngenzeni Hlongwane, 40.

A 13-year-old girl was allegedly raped. A 32-year-old woman was also shot, but survived and is being treated in hospital.

Four other people were killed in Mariannhill. Nolusindiso Sikhotha, 30, her six-month-old baby, Sesethu, her partner Bongani Mngomezulu and his brother, Vasco Msane, were gunned down in their home.

Philani Nxele, the prime suspect in those killings, was shot dead by police when he allegedly opened fire on them last Sunday afternoon. Nxele’s brother, Khetha, was still being sought by police for questioning.

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