ANC killing: setback for suspect in court

2011-02-23 00:00

A HIGH court judge said yesterday it may be necessary for the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society to investigate a claim by a murder accused that he handed over a sum of R5 000 to an attorney at court on Monday without being given a receipt.

In addition, the accused found himself unrepresented for the second day running yesterday, resulting in the trial being delayed until next Monday.

Qaphelani Richard Gumede (33), of Swayimane in the Camperdown area, told Judge Rishi Seegobin in response to questions by the court that he handed the money to an attorney who said he was standing in for his lawyer (Mkhize of Durban) but said he was not given a receipt. He had also previously paid R5 000 to Mkhize in respect of his case, he said.

Gumede said the attorney in question told him that his lawyer could not attend the court case on Monday because he was unwell. He received a similar message again yesterday.

The accused is one of five members of the Gumede family charged with murder and seven counts of attempted murder of ANC supporters who were celebrating the ANC’s election victory in 2009.

The other accused are Zwelempi Stofela Gumede (71), Funinkosi Mkhonto Gumede (41), Mphathiseni Gumede (29), and Busani Qiniso Gumede (21).

The case drew a large crowd of spectators who filled the public gallery both on Monday and yesterday.

The accused are charged with the murder of ANC supporter Zimisele Hlongwane and attempted murder of Sindisiwe Mnyandu, Gladys Gcumisa, Nomkhosi Phakathi, Thenjiwe Gwala, Nonhlanhla Kweyame, Njabulo Mkhize and Phumzile Mnyandu.

The state’s indictment alleges that the accused are all supporters of the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Following the “hotly contested” national and provincial elections on April 22, 2009, the ANC supporters converged on April 27 to celebrate the ANC’s victory and travelled in a number of vehicles along the street at Swayimane.

Its alleged that when the accused saw them celebrating they became angry and gathered at the home of their father, Zwelempi Gumede, and decided to “kill all the ANC supporters” to stop the celebrations.

Armed with firearms, the accused allegedly went to a nearby bush where they watched the ANC supporters and opened fire on them.

All the victims sustained gunshot injuries. The deceased, Zimisele Hlongwane, is said to have died of gunshot wounds to his left lung and heart.

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