‘Please don’t shoot me’

Gavel and scales
Gavel and scales

The beggar who was shot dead near the mosque in Church Street three years ago pleaded “please don’t shoot me” while he was on his knees. A man in front of him then kicked him and shot him.

This was the testimony given by Siyanda Khumalo to the Pietermaritzburg regional court in the trial of Altaaf Dawood, who is charged with the murder of Cebolethu Ngcobo on May 21, 2016.

Dawood has pleaded not guilty, saying he had nothing to do with the murder.

Khumalo told the court that he was sleeping on the street in Church Street and had woken up to buy cigarettes. As he was walking, he heard gunshots and turned and saw Dawood chasing Ngcobo. He then observed Ngcobo in a kneeling position begging for his life before being kicked and shot.

Khumalo said the man then walked into the mosque. He said he turned back and woke up his friends and told them that an “Islamic” person shot Ngcobo.

He also said he approached the man and asked him why he shot the boy and he replied, while walking away, that he had only shot him with a “gas gun”.

Khumalo added that when police arrived at the scene, he said he was able to identify the shooter inside the mosque and it was Dawood.

Under cross-examination by attorney Phumlani Fakude, he said he was under the influence of drugs at the time. He said when he made his statement to police, he was not asked if he had taken drugs.

Police officer Sifiso Mokuoane also took the stand on Thursday.

He said that he was on duty when he received a call about a shooting incident. At the scene he found a crowd of people. One of them told him that the shooter ran into the mosque.

“He said he can go inside and point out the person,” said Mokuoane.

He added that he took the man with him into the mosque where they saw people worshipping. They went through the passage and saw two men standing next to a vehicle outside the mosque. “The person with me pointed to one of them, saying he carried a firearm and had shot a person,” he said.

Mokuoane said he explained to the man his rights and placed him under arrest. He said that the crowd was “baying for his blood”, as he took Dawood outside.

“They said this is the person who shot a boy who was doing nothing. I protected him.”

He then took Dawood to the Loop Street Police Station. He said that he did not find a firearm on Dawood.

The case has been adjourned to January next year.

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