Girlfriend ‘planned Zondi attack’

2010-08-28 00:00

THE son of retired Pietermaritzburg academic Professor Samuel Zondi (71) described in the high court how he found his father lying on a partly burned bed, his hands bound and his head covered with a pillow, on February 20 last year.

Terry Zondi said he called a locksmith to gain entry to his father’s flat three days after he went missing.

He testified that he realised immediately his father was dead.

On trial for Zondi’s murder and robbery and also charged with fraud arising from the use of Zondi’s stolen credit card are Gugu Ndlovu (34), Jabulile Ngcobo (24), Sakhile Hlongwa (20), Mwandile Zwane (20) and Mondli Cele (22). All have pleaded not guilty.

Zondi allegedly had a secret relationship with Gugu Ndlovu, who stands accused of masterminding his robbery and murder.

Gugu’s former friend, Thembikile Ndlovu, testified that Gugu told her she met the professor “playing tennis”.

Ndlovu said a few weeks before Zondi’s murder and robbery Gugu stole Zondi’s bank cards and — with the aid of her and her boyfriend, Simphiwe Gwala — she used Zondi’s credit card to make purchases to the tune of R800 at Makro.

When they tried to use the card again at Mndeni Meats, the transaction was declined, because Zondi had received an SMS to alert him that his card was being used.

Ndlovu said a person who introduced himself as a policeman, Ntombela, subsequently telephoned Gugu and told her to repay Zondi’s money. Ndlovu borrowed R900 from a stokvel party and loaned it to Gugu so that she could repay the professor the R800.

“She told me she had deposited the money into Zondi’s account on the Monday and she showed me the deposit slip,” she added.

Ndlovu testified that soon after this Gugu suggested a plan to rob Zondi at his flat. She suggested that Ndlovu could arrange to meet Zondi pretending to need his help to take photographs at a wedding, so some “boys” could get into the flat and then “grab” Zondi.

Ndlovu said she refused to go along with this scheme.

She was aware that Gugu then approached Simphiwe Gwala to help her, but said they no longer told her what was going on after she opposed the plan.

She said the reason Gugu wanted money was to pay an attorney to represent her in a case in which she was charged.

Acting Judge Jerome Ngwenya, sitting with assessors Mbongeni Nxumalo and Lindelwa Vakalisa, postponed the case until August 31.

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