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A Phoenix man was on Wednesday convicted of the murder of a heavily pregnant Durban policewoman and her fiancé.
Zwelihle Gumede, who had pleaded guilty in the Durban High Court, was expected to be sentenced on Thursday.
The policewoman, Constable Noluthando Zakwe, 25, worked at the SAPS Durban Harbour unit, and her fiancé, Sbahle Buthelezi, 24, was a police clerk at the Greenwood Park police station. They were gunned down outside Zakwe’s home in Avoca Hills, on April 27 last year, apparently after an argument between Gumede and Buthelezi over money.
Zakwe was seven months pregnant at the time.
Gumede, 32, who is believed to be a relative of Buthelezi, was arrested in May last year in Phoenix, where he was found with a Z88 pistol.
Acting Judge Kessie Naidu, handing down judgment on Wednesday, said Gumede had fired shots at Zakwe and Buthelezi with the intention of killing them.
“During the pointing out, he admitted to have fired shots at [Zakwe] while she was running,” he said.
Gumede was found guilty on two counts of murder, one of being in possession of a firearm without a licence and possession of live ammunition.
“The fact that he pleaded guilty is not a factor that creates any moment with this court,” Naidu said.
“The admissions he made when he pleaded guilty shall stand and be taken into account. What is standing against him is the statements he made at the time of the pointing out.”
Earlier, Captain Sibusiso Nxumalo, who had accompanied Gumede to the scene of the murders, read out from a statement that Gumede had made to him.
According to the statement, Gumede had phoned Buthelezi that day and they met at the Avoca Hills shopping centre, from where they drove to Zakwe’s house. Gumede said he and Buthelezi had argued over “the R400 000 he had stolen from me while I was in prison”.
Reading from the statement, Nxumalo said that Gumede had been standing outside the vehicle when he fired three shots at Buthelezi. Zakwe got out of the car, began running down the street and Gumede shot her twice. He then walked to his home in Phoenix.
The families of the victims, some of whom cried in court while evidence was being led, welcomed the verdict, but said they had expected Gumede to be sentenced straight away.
They were disappointed that Gumede did not take the stand, saying he had given no evidence of the existence of the R400 000 he claimed Buthelezi had stolen from him.