Gunman tells of Rattray murder

2008-03-07 00:00

The gunman who admitted he shot and killed historian David Rattray at Fugitives’ Drift Lodge on January 26, 2007 gave evidence in the Pietermaritzburg High Court yesterday, implicating two men currently standing trial on the same charges.

Thembinkosi Mfanafuthi Ndlovu (22) was the second accomplice to testify against Simphiwe Ndlovu (25) and Sibonele Xolani Mpanza (28).

He too told Judge Kate Pillay yesterday that the idea to rob Rattray was first mooted by Mpanza, who had worked on the Rattray property. He said he and his co-conspirators — six in all — were “excited” by the idea of getting money.

Ndlovu, one of three men who have so far pleaded guilty to, and were convicted of, the murder and attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances of Rattray, is serving a 25-year jail sentence.

He said that prior to the day of the robbery, he accompanied Mpanza and Sibusiso Nkwanyana to the lodge to acquaint themselves with the situation. Ndlovu said he shot Rattray on the instructions of a fellow gang member, Nkwanyana, who was behind him and also armed. He said he shot once and then again, although he cannot clearly remember whether he fired two or three shots. Then he and the others fled.

Asked why he ran away without taking anything when he deliberately shot Rattray, Ndlovu responded: “Because I did not know why I was shooting him … It was Nkwanyana who told me to shoot.”

Ndlovu denied suggestions by defence attorney Surendra Singh and advocate Dean Govender that he was falsely implicating their clients.

Singh suggested to Ndlovu the reason he was falsely implicating Simphiwe Ndlovu was that he and previous accomplice witness, Zwelihle Mtshali, had earlier robbed Ndlovu of money after a drinking session in a tavern in 2006.

Govender suggested that Mpanza had never seen him before, and that his motive for implicating Mpanza was to strengthen his chances of getting parole.

The court has heard that Simphiwe Ndlovu claims he was somewhere else proposing love to a woman at the time of the crime, while Mpanza says he was at home sleeping.

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