Security tight for four IFP accused

2009-11-03 00:00

FOUR alleged Inkatha Freedom Party supporters charged with the murder of an ANC supporter and attempted murder of seven others during an election victory celebration on April 27 will appear in the high court in Pietermaritzburg on November 20.

Three of the accused — Zwelempi Gumede (71), Funi­nkosi Gumede (41) and Busani Gumede (21) — appeared briefly before Judge Pete Koen yesterday.

Fourth accused Mpathiseni Gumede (29) was not brought to court by Correctional Services and the case was postponed in his absence.

Advocate Lourens de Klerk, for the accused, expressed his concern to the judge that he has not been given sight of the police docket by the state, despite his requests that it be made available to him since July 2.

He also told the court that he will ask it at the next hearing to consider granting bail to Zwelempi Gumede.

Additional security was provided at the high court yesterday as this case always attracts a large contingent of supporters from both the ANC and IFP.

Yesterday police strung a length of string down the centre of the public gallery to divide it in half; supporters of the opposing groups took up their seats on either side.

The accused are charged with shooting dead Zimisele Hlongwane and injuring six women — Sindisiwe Mnyandu, Gladys Gcumisa, Nomkhosi Phakhathi, Them­jiwe Gwala, Nonhlanhla Kweyame and Phumzile Mnyandu — and a man, Njabulo Mkhize, during an incident in the Esigqumeni area of Swayimane.

All the victims are ANC supporters while the accused, who are related to one another, support the IFP.

According to the indictment, it is alleged that when ANC supporters learned of the party’s election victory on April 27 they converged to celebrate and drove through the area in vehicles.

The accused allegedly became angry on seeing them, and gathered at Zwelempi Gumede’s home, where they decided to kill all the ANC supporters and put a stop to the celebration.

It is alleged the accused had collected firearms and then went to a bush where they watched the ANC supporters.

When they came near, they opened fire on them.

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