Men point fingers in chainsaw murder

2008-06-09 00:00

Three men who allegedly murdered their employer for robbery purposes by cutting his throat with a chainsaw and attacking him with pangas in a plantation in Hilton during April 2007 have all denied blame and implicated one another.

Sibusiso Raymond Shange (30), Johannes Sibongiseni Ndzaba (20) and Sphiwe Bright Gcumisa (24), all of France, Pietermaritzburg, pleaded not guilty before Judge Jan Hugo and an assessor to the murder of Royith Ramessar (45) on April 10 last year, and to robbery with aggravating circumstances of his Mazda 323, R200, a cellphone, chainsaws, bush knives and other items.

Gcumisa said he wished to plead guilty to robbery (without aggravating circumstances) only. He said that while he was at the scene of the murder and admitted having made common purpose with his co-accused to rob Ramessar, he never foresaw that Ramessar would be killed.

Shange said it was Gcumisa who cut Ramessar’s throat.

Shange said Ramessar took the three of them to the plantation to work. When a chainsaw broke, he contacted Ramessar, who brought parts. He alleged that an argument broke out between Ramessar and Gcumisa.

He said Ramessar approached Gcumisa “as if he was fighting” and Gcumisa raised a bush knife in a “chopping position”.

“[Ramessar] tried to block the blow and turned away. At this point, [Gcumisa] chopped the deceased with the bush knife behind his head. He fell on his back. [Gcumisa] then grabbed the chainsaw … started it, and cut the deceased’s throat with it,” said Shange.

He said Gcumisa then took a cellphone from Ramessar and searched his trousers for money.

Gcumisa put the chainsaw in Ramessar’s car and took the bush knife, ordering Shange to drive the vehicle.

Ndzaba denied that he participated in either the planning or carrying out of the murder and robbery with his two co-accused.

He said he heard Shange call “the Indian man” and tell him a chainsaw was not working.

The man arrived to fix the chainsaw, and an argument broke out between him and Gcumisa.

Ndzaba claimed he left then to continue his work. He heard Gcumisa call him and saw him and Shange in the car. He said Gcumisa had a bush knife, and threatened him with it.

The prosecution alleges that all acted with common purpose to kill and rob Ramessar.

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