Man killed for phones

2009-03-26 00:00

“I couldn’t cry. I couldn’t think. I just froze in fear,” was how a woman from Azalea, near KwaPata, recounted the invasion of her home in which her husband was shot dead while she was locked in the bathroom — and all for two cellphones.

Sbongile Khumalo (55) said the family have lost not only a husband and a father of three, but also a breadwinner.

Khumalo said she was working in the kitchen just after noon on Wednesday while her husband, Bheki (56), who worked nights as a driver for ABI, slept in their bedroom.

The front door was open because of the heat. When she went into the dining room to cool off, she was met by a man who cocked a firearm at her. “He had a cap on that covered his eyes. He pointed the gun at me and ordered me to move towards the passage.”

Khumalo said she did not scream as she had been warned not to by the intruder. “I just went numb … it was as if time stopped.”

Khumalo was locked in the bathroom while the man roamed her home, though she said she could not trace his moves.

She said she managed to peek through the bathroom window, but could not signal for help as none of her neighbours was at home.

Minutes later, she heard a single gunshot. She remained curled up in the bathroom, too scared to move since she was not sure whether her assailant was still in the house.

Khumalo was later rescued by a family friend, who was in the area visiting a sick granny, but decided to drop in at the Khumalos after seeing their front door ajar.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, the friend said she knocked twice on the door. When she did not get a response, she started calling for Khumalo.

Following what sounded like whimpering, the friend went into the house and found Khumalo locked in the bathroom.

“I found the key lying on the floor. After letting her out she told me about the gunshot. I went to investigate and discovered that Babu Khumalo had been shot. I tried to shake him awake and ran for help.”

Khumalo’s mother, Ntombey’ningi Nzamo, lamented her son-in-law’s death, adding that in her 80 years she has never seen such audacity that would lead a man to kill another while he slept in his own home.

Khumalo said she later found an ATM slip with Wednesday’s date on it, but was not sure if her husband had any money on him that might have been stolen.

Police urge anyone with information to contact Detective Inspector Joshua Mulder at 033 398 9748 or 082 922 1708.

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