Boy (5) had to untie his gogo

2017-04-21 15:27
Sweetwaters widow tells of how robbers shot her husband.

Sweetwaters widow tells of how robbers shot her husband. (File)

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An elderly widow described on Wednesday how her pensioner husband was gunned down in the bedroom of their Sweet­waters home last year by one of three masked intruders.

Duduzile Nkandi said the faces of two of the assailants were covered by balaclavas and another wore a face mask so that she could only see their eyes.

Nkandi became emotional in the witness box when she was asked to recall details of her husband’s shooting, such as how many gunshots went off and how close the gunman was to him when he shot him.

Wiping the tears from her eyes, she told Judge Anton van Zyl the gunman was standing about three paces away from her husband, Muziwamadoda Nkandi (69), when she “heard the explosion of the firearm” and he was shot and fell down.

The incident happened in the course of a robbery on the night of June 28 last year. At the time the couple’s five-year-old grandson, who lived with them, was also in the house, but he was not injured.

Duduzile Nkandi said she and her husband were watching television in their bedroom when they heard somebody calling to them from the gate.

“He called Mkhulu, Gogo and the name of the small boy … he was calling each of us to come to the gate,” she said.

Nkandi said her husband had asked the person who he was and the voice replied that he was their helper, “Mdu”.

Her husband went to open the door. As he opened it he had retreated backwards and then said to her that “attackers are already inside the house”.

The widow said her husband had grabbed a pellet gun he used to shoot birds, apparently intending to frighten the intruders with it, but then he was shot and fell down.

Nkandi said she ran to a wardrobe and tried to hide, but someone grabbed her from behind. “He said to me, we are not going to kill you Mama. We want the car keys and money.”

As she sat down on her bed one of the attackers took her rings off her fingers. Another grabbed a cloth and covered her head and they tied her wrists together using cable ties.

She said she could hear them talking in the house and saying that they could not start her husband’s vehicle (a Nissan bakkie), which was parked in the garage.

While she remained seated on the bed, unable to see anything because her head was still covered, one of them came to ask her where they could find the battery for the vehicle and later said that the car “still would not start but the lights came on”.

After she had suggested the problem “could be petrol” the man had said they were going to buy petrol but would return to take the vehicle.

Nkandi said a while later her grandson came to her and asked her if she was alive. The boy then fetched a knife from the kitchen and untied her. Together they ran to a neighbouring homestead where they called the police.

Nkandi said she was later taken back home by the police, and paramedics had also arrived and examined her husband, but declared him dead.

She testified that a number of goods were stolen by the robbers, including two cellphones, her husband’s pellet gun, and two flat-screen television sets. Some of these goods were later recovered by police.

Nkandi was giving evidence in a case in which three men — Thabani Madondo (27), Philani Malinga (31) and Msizi Ndlela (33) — are appearing in connection with her husband’s murder and robbery and other charges.

One of the other counts facing them relates to the hijacking of a white VW Polo the same night as the robbery at the Nkandi homestead.

During that incident the vehicle owner, Njabulo Ndlovu, was kidnapped, tied with cable ties and put into the boot of his car. He was later released.

Earlier this week state advocate Dorian Paver withdrew charges against a fourth accused in the case, Ntsizwazonke Mncube (31), who became a state witness.

The three men on trial have all pleaded not guilty to Nkandi’s murder. However some have entered guilty pleas on certain other charges.

One of them, Philani Malinga, pleaded guilty to all of the charges, except for the murder. In a statement to the court he said he never had any intention to murder Nkandi and said he had even told his accomplices that “no one was to be killed and all we wanted was the Nissan Hardbody bakkie”.

“I told them there were only two people in the house, an old lady and an old man. I told them that you are four young and strong men and there is no need to kill any of the old people,” he said in the written statement.

The case is proceeding.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  court case

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