Witnesses ‘express fears’ — prof’s alleged killers denied bail

2009-08-28 00:00

THE alleged killers of retired university professor Samuel Zondi were yesterday denied bail by Pietermaritzburg magistrate Paul van Dongen, who ruled there appears to be a strong case against them.

In evidence opposing the granting of bail to three of the five accused charged with his murder and robbery yesterday, investigating officer Derek Coetzee said that if released on bail, they could be a danger to each other and to state witnesses.

The accused who applied for bail are Jabulile Hilda Ngcobo (24) of Pietermaritzburg and Sakhile Hlongwa (20) and Mzwandile Zwane (20), both of Hammarsdale.

The alleged mastermind behind the murder and robbery, Gugu Ndlovu (34), who is said to have had a “secret relationship” with Zondi and Mondli Cele (22) of Hammarsdale did not ask for bail.

Zondi (72) was allegedly smothered to death before his assailants set fire to his flat at Moyra Mansions in Alexandra Road, Pietermaritzburg, on February 17 this year.

Coetzee said the state has a strong case against each of the accused, four of whom made confessions to a magistrate. Only Hlongwa did not make a statement.

Coetzee said each of the accused spelled out in those confessions not only their own involvement, but the involvement of their co-accused, and this could cause ill feeling.

However, he revealed that none of the five accused has admitted to the actual killing and said this appears to be a “contentious issue”.

Coetzee said witnesses have expressed fears that the accused will be released on bail because the accused know them. One witness is an alleged accomplice in the crimes whose evidence is “vital” for the prosecution.

Coetzee said the attackers bound Zondi’s hands and feet , pushed plastic bags down his throat and blindfolded him. After ransacking his flat, the assailants set fire to it. He said he believes the reason for that was to destroy fingerprints or forensic evidence and thereby evade arrest.

He said all the accused took part in a “shopping spree” afterwards, using Zondi’s stolen bank and credit cards.


Two women and three men face charges of having murdered retired academic Professor Samuel Zondi on February 17 this year, as well as robbery and fraud arising from the use of his bank cards.

They are; Gug Ndlovu (34) Jabulile Ngcobo (24),

Sakhile Hlongwa (20), Mzwandile Zwane (20) and Mondli Cele (22).

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