R1m booty missing after taxi boss killed

2015-05-12 09:24

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Pietermaritzburg - The bail application of two men charged with the murder and robbery of Chase Valley taxi owner Clement Bongani Zondi (52) last January has heard evidence that he had R1 million cash at his home the day he was killed.

The money disappeared on the day of Zondi’s murder, but police were not able to establish what became of it.

This emerged during the evidence of investigating officer Willem de Wet, who is opposing the granting of bail to Zondi’s former taxi driver, Zamokuhle Zungu (31) and his ­co-accused, Zibonele Mkhize (49) — a ­human resources manager employed at Msunduzi Municipality.

He said police have reason to believe Zungu was aware of the R1 million in Zondi’s possession and that this was the motive for the pre-planned ­robbery.

However, immediately after Zondi was shot whilst he was preparing to leave for gym at 05:30 on January 29 last year, the killers jumped into his white Toyota Hilux bakkie and sped away. They also took his cellphone.

It is not known where the cash was at the time of the incident.

De Wet said police had never ­recovered the money, and none of the state witnesses had revealed any ­information relating to the whereabouts of the money, which is still missing.

“We don’t know what became of it,” said De Wet.

He said Zondi had allegedly fetched the money from a family residence in Sobantu the day before his murder, as he intended to buy a new vehicle.

De Wet told magistrate M. Boikhutso that he is opposed to Zungu and Mkhize being released on bail because they have reason to evade their trial if released, and he is also concerned about intimidation and interference with state witnesses.

De Wet told the court that he has no evidence that the two accused had personally threatened witnesses but testified that one of the state witnesses received an anonymous threatening phone call yesterday morning.

“We are going to follow up to find out who phoned,” said De Wet.

Zungu and Mkhize testified that they intend to plead not guilty to the charges and said they have lived in Pieter­maritzburg their whole lives.

They both denied that they would interfere with witnesses.

Mkhize told the court he has worked for the municipality for 19 years and earns a gross salary of R57 454 per month. He and his family live in a house in Prestbury that belongs to the municipality.

He said he can take early retirement in six years’ time, and would not leave his family and his career and flee.

He said he has no passport.

Zungu testified that he was ­currently still employed by Zondi’s son as a taxi driver, but after an outburst from a man who hurriedly left the courtroom, he said; “I thought this until I heard his utterances now”.

Members of the public were warned on two occasions yesterday by the magistrate to be quiet or the court would be cleared.

On one occasion when Zungu was asked how much bail he could afford a voice from the gallery was heard ­saying “one million”.

He told the court he can raise R500.

The bail application will proceed on May 13

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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