Durban - It would have been about dinner time on March 4 when two men arrived at a homestead in Nsuze, outside Tongaat, asking for directions. The men left, only to return a few minutes later, demanding to know who Thokozani's daughter was.
Seven-year-old Philiswa Zungu came forward, unaware that moments later Simosakhe Ngcobo and an alleged accomplice would slit her throat, stab her more than 40 times and disembowel her - all for R1 000 each.
This was the chilling evidence that emerged as lawyer Thiagaraj Pillay read out Ngcobo’s statement to the Durban High Court on Thursday after his client pleaded guilty to murder. Judge Shyam Gyanda convicted Ngxobo and sentenced him to 25 years in jail.
Ngcobo, a street vendor, told the court that Zungu’s father Thokozani Ngidi, a police officer, had offered him and a friend R20 000 each if they would kill his daughter. His alleged accomplice is still on the run from the police.
Ngcobo said Ngidi had taken them to an area he did not know and told them that his daughter was with her mother’s relatives.
The two did not know who Ngidi’s daughter was and, according to Ngcobo, he told them to kill all three children in the rondavel. The two men refused, saying the "deal was for only one child".
"A young boy opened the door and the second attacker pushed the door and both of us entered the rondavel. I stood near the doorway and we both drew our knives and my friend demanded Thokozani’s child. The lady inside pointed at a young girl and the child came to me and stood next to me.”
He said that they took Zungu outside, locking the woman and the other two children inside the rondavel. He held the child while his friend went to look for Ngidi.
“He came back with Thokozani who confirmed that this is his child and said ‘kill her’. [The friend] then came to me and stabbed the child and she fell to the ground.”
Ngidi allegedly paid each man R1 000. On May 5 Ngcobo was arrested.
At the same time on Thursday as Ngcobo was pleading guilty in the Durban High Court and promising to be a witness for the police, Ngidi was being indicted in the Nsuze Periodic Court.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson said Ngidi, who was a constable in the SA Police Service at the time he is alleged to have ordered the killing of his child, is expected to appear in the kwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban on July 29.
Pictures of the crime scene are too gruesome to publish, but show that Zungu’s throat was cut and her intestines removed.
In sentencing Ngcobo, Gyanda said: “This child was taken from the sanctity of her home and murdered in her own yard. The person that was killed was a defenceless young child.”
Although there was very little that could be regarded as mitigating circumstances, Gyanda said the fact that Ngcobo was prepared to testify against Ngidi “showed there is some humanity in you”.
State advocate Noxolo Dube said: “As a person who is a parent himself," Ngcobo had no conscience.
She said he had no alternative but to plead guilty.
“He pleaded guilty because there was overwhelming evidence against him. There were three people who positively identified him in an ID parade.”
Neither the indictment nor Ngcobo in his guilty plea reveal why Ngidi allegedly wanted his daughter dead.