Duma killing: suspect held

2012-05-07 00:00

PATIENCE and intensive round-the-clock work paid off and led to the arrest of a 24-year-old man suspected of the murder of South African polo star Sibusiso Duma, according to police.

Howick Detective Captain Subba Naidoo and Detective Constable Sithembiso Zondi were instrumental in the arrest of the suspect in downtown Howick on Saturday.

Police also recovered a type of flick knife that is believed to be the murder weapon. The knife will be sent for forensic analysis.

Naidoo confirmed the accused had “surrendered peacefully” when confronted and co-operated with investigators.

The man, who was identified as a possible suspect in the killing by the community and Duma’s family, absconded, but police had information about his movements. They received a tip-off that the man was back in Howick on Saturday and tracked him down.

Naidoo said it was hoped the arrest would help to instill public confidence in the police.

Investigations were proceeding, he said.

Crowds are expected to gather at the Howick Magistrate’s Court today when the suspect is due to make his first court appearance.

Julia Rees, captain of the Lions River Polo Club, said the arrest might help to bring closure to Sibusiso’s family and friends.

“Maybe some of the questions will now be answered as to why this happened … it just seemed like such a random thing and so many people’s lives have been affected by it. It’s really tragic,” she said.

Duma’s sister, Sthembile, told The Witness at the time of the incident the family suspected the boyfriend of a woman Duma had dated two years ago. The woman was attacked the same day and hospitalised.

Duma (25) was the country’s first developmental polo player to rise to international level.

He was stabbed to death at Lidgetton, near Howick, on Workers’ Day while awaiting a visa to play polo in England.

Rees said Dieter Rowe-Setz, who was Sibusiso’s manager and mentor, was overseas when news of the suspect’s arrest broke.

The MEC for Arts,Culture, Sport and Recreation, Ntombikayise Sibhidla-Saphetha, yesterday expressed her condolences to Duma’s family and that of soccer legend Manqoba “Shuku” Shangase, who died last week.

“The passing of the two sport heroes is a great loss to the sporting fraternity in the province. Clearly, as a province we have been robbed of these two role models.

“We are saddened at Duma’s death because he had a bright future ahead of him. He was a great role model to young people especially because he was rising star in a sport that is not so popular in the African communities,” she said.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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