Judgment day looms for man accused of New Year's Day murder

2015-04-28 20:20

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Tonga - An Mpumalanga man accused of fatally stabbing a man with a beer bottle during a New Year's Day party will face judgment on Wednesday.

Donald Mabuza, 23, of Sibhejane village near the  Swazi and Mozambican border, appeared in the Tonga Regional Court on Tuesday.

He has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Sipho Sambo.

The 36-year-old was stabbed to death at the Nondumiso tavern.

Witness Isaiah "Spoko" Makome, also from Sibhejane village, testified that he was sitting in front of the tavern where DJs were playing music.

"I saw this Mabuza boy going to talk to Sambo where he was dancing in the circle," said Makome.

He said four other men later approached them because they were quarreling.

Mabuza suddenly grabbed a beer bottle and hit Sambo with it. Sambo collapsed on the scene, said Makome. 

The deceased man's sisters, Sizakele, 20, and Silindile, 23, testified that they had accompanied their brother to buy cigarettes at the tavern, which was just a few meters from their home.

Sizakele said her brother had dispersed a rowdy group, which included Mabuza, outside the tavern.

"We proceeded into the tavern to buy cigarettes and when we come out, I saw Mabuza smashing my brother, Sipho, on his forehead and he fell down immediately," she said. 

She told the court her brother's forehead was swollen and his eyes were closed like "someone sleeping".

"He was also not talking, moving or doing anything. He was bleeding profusely from his nostrils and we quickly asked a certain guy who had a car to drive him to Tonga hospital for medical  treatment.

"I was with those who went to hospital with him at about 04:30 and the nurses told us he was dead already," she said sobbing.

Mabuza's legal aid lawyer, Refiloe Tsotetsi, told the court that Mabuza did not kill Makome, but that his friends had done so.

Magistrate Edgar Moletsane noted, however, that in his confession statement to police, Mabuza admitted to striking Makome with a Black Label beer bottle which contained liquor and that he fell down.

Prosecutor Thulani Msibi asked the court to find Mabuza guilty of murder. He claimed the attack on Sambo was intentional. 

Read more on:    mbombela  |  crime

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