Murder-accused artist was often driven home after boozy night - witness

2016-12-12 21:47
Mthethwa (L) seen leaving court (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Mthethwa (L) seen leaving court (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town – The defence for murder-accused artist Zwelethu Mthethwa on Monday tried to show that he had a pattern of being driven home in his car after a night of heavy drinking at upmarket clubs.

It also tried painting a picture of Mthethwa as a placid drunk who struggled to recall events while under the influence, the Western Cape High Court heard on Monday.

Security risk manager Alwyn Landman testified to this effect when called to the stand as the second witness after the defence re-opened it case.

Landman was quizzed on his interactions with Mthethwa while employed at The Grand Café and Beach in Granger Bay, and later, The Shimmy Beach Club, between 2010 and 2013.

Mthethwa has pleaded not guilty to killing sex worker Nokuphila Kumalo, 23, on April 14, 2013, in Woodstock. She died of blunt force trauma.

He allegedly kicked her repeatedly. The State alleges he was caught on CCTV cameras as he parked his Porsche in Ravenscraig Road.

He did not hand in a plea explanation or testify in his own defence.

A psychiatrist testified last week that Mthethwa had no recall of events that night, probably due to alcohol consumption.

While Landman recalled driving Mthethwa to his Devil's Peak home in the artist’s old car, a dark convertible Volvo, it soon emerged he had never driven the Porsche.

Prosecutor Christhenus van der Vijver jumped up to object that the testimony had no relevance to the night of the murder.

Principles of evidence

“If similar fact evidence is going to be led, I must object. It flies in the face of all the principles of evidence. If this witness is going to testify that he drove the vehicle at the relevant time, then this evidence would make sense,” he said.

Judge Patricia Goliath allowed him to continue testifying.

Landman leaned his muscular frame against the dock as he spoke in fast, clipped sentences.

He said Mthethwa had been a friend of one of the Grand’s owners. He liked to wine and dine, often being the last to leave.

“I drove his vehicle a number of times at the Grand. Sometimes, he was walking funny. Obviously he had too much to drink,” he said.

He clearly recalled the artist telling him one time: “I hoped I behaved myself. I can’t remember much”.

At Shimmy, Mthethwa would pull up in his black Porsche with a personalised number plate. Other people sometimes drove him there in his car.

Early in 2013, a Shimmy health and safety official called Sheldon drove Mthethwa home in his Porsche.

Bragging for weeks

Landman said he followed them in his own car and drove Sheldon back to the venue. Sheldon was apparently in Dubai. He was not called to testify.

Van der Vijver said it was remarkable that Landman had such a good memory. He wondered how he had been able to remember Sheldon driving the artist home.

Landman replied: “Sheldon was bragging for weeks that he was driving a Porsche”.

The prosecutor said this clearly indicated that it was an unusual event.

Defence lawyer William Booth closed his case. 

Closing arguments would be heard on Wednesday.


Read more on:    zwelethu mthethwa  |  cape town

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