Gasa murder accused may seek plea bargain

The accused in the Nhlanhla Gasa murder case is apparently seeking to make a plea bargain agreement with the prosecution.

Mbulelo Arthur Ntlauzana (25) from Groutville near Stanger on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast appeared briefly in Durban’s U Regional Court in connection with the murder of the prominent businessman.

Ntlauzana, slightly built and wearing an orange golf shirt and grey chinos, stood silently in the dock after being brought into court from the cells below today. He was not asked to plead by Magistrate Anand Maharaj, who remanded him in custody until April 23.

Ntlauzana, an employee at a fast-food outlet, was not asked to plead as he still has to consult a Legal Aid lawyer. He will be held at the Durban North SAPS cells until his next court appearance.

It is understood that Ntlauzana, who was arrested by Warrant Officers Jomo Govender and Rajen Govender of the provincial task team, was with his girlfriend and two children in their rented Groutville room at the time of his arrest on Saturday night.

He had been believed to have been hiding in Eastern Cape since the killing, which took place at Gasa’s luxurious Umhlanga home last month.

Gasa, a former member of the Absa Group and Umgeni Water boards, and a leading KwaZulu-Natal businessman, was father of former Miss South Africa Mbali Gasa and her media celebrity sister, Noni.

His son, Andile, was present at court, along with a handful of friends. Despite the headlines caused by Gasa’s murder, there was little public interest in yesterday’s brief hearing.

Maharaj said he was adjourning the hearing to allow the accused to consult his lawyer before going any further.

Gasa was stabbed to death and his body was dumped in the Tugela River. His car, a Jaguar, was burned near where his body was found.

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