Shocked by the body in the river

2017-10-20 13:53
Christine (57) and Roger (66) Solik. (Supplied)

Christine (57) and Roger (66) Solik. (Supplied)

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Two women collecting firewood along the Inzinga River at Impendle on the morning of February 17 were shocked to come across the body of Christine Solik partially submerged in the river.

Nosipho Zuma, who first spotted the body, gave evidence on Tuesday at the trial of Thulani Moses Mthembu (43) of Bruntville who is charged with kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and murder of Christine and Roger Solik.

Zuma told Judge Nkosinathi Chili and an assessor that when she looked up she suddenly saw what “looked like a person” in the water.

“The upper body and lower legs were covered by the water. Only the thighs were visible,” she said.

Zuma said she and her companion “got scared” and ran to find a man they had seen in the vicinity.

When they found him, it turned out to be her neighbour, Sithembiso Zuma.

They led him to the spot and he then called the police.

“Other people started to come there. We waited until the mortuary van came and they removed the body from the river,” she said.

Zuma said when the body was taken out of the water she saw the person’s hands and legs were tied together and there was a pillow case over her head.

Sithembiso Zuma confirmed that he called the police to the scene.

He said he could immediately tell the woman in the river was already dead.

The court is now busy with a trial within a trial to decide whether a confession and a pointing out made by Mthembu were made freely and voluntarily.

Mthembu’s lawyer, Zwela Khumalo, said Mthembu alleges his constitutional rights were never explained to him when he was arrested.

He also alleges he only made a statement and did a pointing out at the crime scene because of a “promise” made to him by the investigating officer.

“You told [Mthembu] that if he co-operated and gave a statement, that will be taken into consideration at his trial,” he suggested to investigator Warrant Officer Skhumbuzo Mdunge, who replied that was “false”.

Khumalo said Mdunge allegedly used a Zulu phrase that translates as: “I will look out for you”, but Mdunge said this never happened.

Mdunge testified that on the night of his arrest, Mthembu had said he wanted to tell him something about the offences.

The next day it was arranged for him to make statements before a commissioned officer and a magistrate.

A few days later Mthembu asked to see him and then said he was prepared to do a pointing out. This too was then arranged.

Mdunge said he wasn’t aware that when Mthembu appeared before the magistrate (prior to the pointing out) that he had asked for legal representation.

The case is proceeding.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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