‘Road rage’ case postponed to November

2016-09-29 09:12
Road rage murder accused Thobelani Khuzwayo (right, wearing glasses) chats to friends in the court foyer yesterday.

Road rage murder accused Thobelani Khuzwayo (right, wearing glasses) chats to friends in the court foyer yesterday. (Ingrid Oellermann)

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The “road rage” murder trial of former policeman Thobelani Khuzwayo has again been postponed, this time until November because there was no prosecutor available to start the trial on Wednesday.

Khuzwayo is charged with the murder of Pietermaritzburg IT engineer Kavlin Naidoo, who was shot in the stomach in the CBD on November 2, 2014, in what was reported to be a road rage incident.

Naidoo (27) was shot and critically injured after the car driven by his brother, Davelin, was allegedly “blocked” by the policeman’s vehicle.

According to media reports at the time, Naidoo, who was in the company of his fiancée, Sandhani Padayachee, got out to find out what the problem was and was shot. The gunman immediately sped away after the shooting.

Naidoo died three weeks after being admitted to Grey’s Hospital.

Khuzwayo, a police sergeant at the time, was arrested a few days later and subsequently resigned from the police service. The trial is now due in the regional court between November 16 and 22.

The case was moved to a different court after the presiding magistrate, S. Mngomezulu, yesterday said he was concerned that the roll in his court was fully booked until February next year. “This will prolong the matter more,” he said.

Mngomezulu had earlier raised a number of queries about the progress of the case. One of the issues he was worried about was that the state was allegedly anticipating that a plea and sentence agreement would be concluded in the case.

However, Khuzwayo’s new advocate, Brad Osborne, said on Monday he had no knowledge about plea negotiations and, according to the instructions from his client, the matter was going to trial.

This indicates that Khuzwayo intends pleading not guilty.

Yesterday, senior state prosecutor Bongani Mkhwebane explained that he had met Khuzwayo’s previous advocate “at a function for Heritage Day” last week, when he had inquired if the state would consider entering into a plea agreement. “But this was only verbal … I said I could not deal with it then as I had not seen the docket, but after I had seen the docket I would consider it. Nothing was submitted in writing and nothing transpired beyond that point,” he said.

Mkhwebane also explained to Mngomezulu that even though the case was set down for the trial to start yesterday, there was no prosecutor available to deal with it.

He said the court’s “resident prosecutor” was on leave and the relief prosecutor assigned to the matter had fallen ill. “We are severely understaffed. Today we have 11 prosecutors available, and all of them are engaged in other courts,” he said.

Mkhwebane said he himself could not take on the case as he is heavily burdened with administrative work and reading dockets.

Naidoo’s father, Dev, and mother, Patsy, said the family was “stressed out” and needed closure.

There was even greater stress on their other son, Davelin, and Kavlin’s fiancée, who witnessed the shooting and have to give evidence.

Osborne said yesterday the state’s case was expected to be quite long.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  road rage

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