Guilty plea surprises victims

2010-11-19 00:00

A GUILTY plea by one of the men accused of the Ntshongweni and Mariannhill massacres has brought a relief to family members of the victims and local community members.

Thulani Ndlovu (22) took a packed Pinetown Magistrate’s Court room by surprise on Wednesday when he defied his lawyer by dropping his bail application and pleaded guilty to six counts of murder, attempted murder, rape and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Ndlovu, who had initially intended to plead innocent and apply for bail, changed his mind while his lawyer and the state prosecutor were preparing for the bail application.

The case was postponed to December 6 to prepare for ballistic and postmortem reports and witness statements.

Ntshongweni Dam councillor Fani Madondo said Ndlovu has given the victims’ family and community members “a nice surprise”.

He praised the hard work of the officers of the police elite unit, the Hawks, for their part in Ndlovu’s decision.

“We have now gained trust in the police and justice system. This case procedure is shorter than cases I have come across.

“I was in court when the accused, who had intended to apply for bail and plead innocent, suddenly withdrew bail application and pleaded guilty to all crimes,” said Madondo.

Bongani Zulu (43) lost his wife, 22-year-old daughter, two sons aged 19 and eight, and his three-year-old grandson on the night of the attack.

He said he was happy with the guilty plea, although he could not afford to go to court.

He said he wished that Philani “Nkalakatha” and Khetha “Bhejane” Nxele, the brothers who were the alleged masterminds behind the attack, had lived to tell the truth about the killings.

The two were killed during shoot-outs with police in separate incidents.

“I feel they pulled guns on the police because they wanted to be killed and not tell the truth. They chose to die because they were running away with the truth behind what they did”

Zulu said he is still struggling to accept that he is left alone in his home. “When I wake up during at midnight, memories of my wife and children just come back. It is better during the day because there are people around me.”

Police spokesperson Brigadier Phindile Radebe said police have not closed the investigation.

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