Accused told me they killed driver, says mechanic

2013-06-06 00:00

ONE of two men on trial for the murder and robberies of three metered taxi operators in Pietermaritzburg in 2010, told a mechanic who helped strip one of the allegedly stolen cars that they had killed the driver.

This evidence was given by the mechanic, Sibusiso Ngcobo (34), yesterday at the trial of Samkelo Maphumulo (32) and Siyabonga Zimu (27).

Ngcobo said the incident occurred in May 2010 when Maphumulo and Zimu arrived with a Mazda 323 that he helped them to strip of its parts.

He said he and Maphumulo were friends and were staying in the Folweni area of Durban at the time.

Ngcobo said when he inspected the vehicle he noticed blood on the left front wheel and “got a fright”.

When he asked Maphumulo where the blood came from Maphumulo told him they had killed the person who had the vehicle.

He said Maphumulo handed him the car keys and attached to the key holder was a driver’s licence.

“I removed the licence and I noticed that it was not him [Maphumulo]. I asked him who this is and he told me that this is the person that they killed,” he said.

Ngcobo said the photograph was of a young man aged about 24 or 25 years old.

“I kept looking at the photo thinking to myself that this was such a young boy and I was very scared at that time,” he said.

Ngcobo said he noticed the surname on the licence was Zondi.

He told the court that he and the two accused had worked through the night stripping the vehicle of all its mechanical parts. They then chopped up the car’s body with an axe and subsequently sold the pieces to a scrap metal dealer.

His [Ngcobo’s] uncle had bought some of the parts as he’d had an accident in his Ford Bantam bakkie, and the rest of the parts were also disposed of.

In June he’d seen the accused in possession of another NP-registered vehicle — a Toyota Corolla, for which Maphumulo had said he had a buyer. Then in July Maphumulo again came to him with a cream-white Mazda and asked him to repair the exhaust.

When he asked where he’d got the car Maphumulo told him a “story” about having shot someone who had refused to get out of the vehicle, Ngcobo said.

Maphumulo and Zimu have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and robbery of Pietermaritzburg-based metered taxi drivers, Sphamandla Zondi on May 30, 2010; Zephrid Nxumalo on June 26, and Xolani Hlela on July 10, 2010.

The case is proceeding.

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