Prinicipal’s death: teacher acquitted

2007-11-30 00:00

Former northern KwaZulu-Natal schoolteacher Wilfred Nxumalo (34), who was sentenced in 2004 to 20 years’ imprisonment for the October 2002 murder of Yanguye High principal Zwelinjani Mtshali (50) at Melmoth, has been acquitted on appeal by a full bench of the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

Nxumalo said at his trial that the charges were trumped up as a result of a political conspiracy. He said he was a founder member of the ANC in Melmoth and claimed the IFP was threatened by his “electioneering” ahead of the 2004 elections. He said he was at home on the night of the murder.

Judges Leona Theron, Shyam Gyanda and Philip Levinsohn ruled that the evidence of an accomplice witness who testified against Nxumalo was “unreliable and totally unacceptable”.

They also said that the trial court’s finding that Nxumalo gave “improbable and fanciful” reasons why witnesses would falsely implicate him, was unfair.

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