Bail for IFP murder accused

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IOL nov 29 court justice scales Independent Newspapers Three men appeared briefly in the Klerksdorp Magistrate's Court on Monday in connection with the murder of ANC North West official Obuti Chika, the Hawks said.

Durban -

A second man accused of killing a woman Inkatha Freedom Party supporter was granted bail by the Durban Regional Court on Friday.

Magistrate Siphiwe Hlophe released Malusi Sibusiso Ncengwa on R2000 bail after prosecutor Blackie Swart conceded the case against him was not very strong.

“We need to re-look at his involvement in this case,” Swart said.

Ncengwa is accused along with National Freedom Party leader Mgezeni “Bhungu” Gwala, his two sons Mjabulelwa and Bonginhlanhla, and bodyguard Skhumbuzo Nxumalo, of killing IFP supporter Cebesile Shezi in KwaMashu, north of Durban, on October 6.

Bonginhlanhla Gwala was released on bail of R20,000 last month after the discovery of closed-circuit television footage showing him being nowhere near KwaMashu.

Ncengwa maintained throughout the bail hearing he was 30km away, working as a security guard on the day of the shooting.

Investigating officer Captain Cedric Nthenga earlier told the court Ncengwa had made a statement placing him at the Gwala's house at the time of the shooting.

But when questioned about the statement Nthenga admitted he had not taken a written statement and that Ncengwa denied ever having been at the Gwala's house on the day of the shooting.

Nthenga admitted that Ncengwa had not been mentioned in any of the police's witness statements.

The court heard previously that Ncengwa had been identified during an ID parade.

Nthenga admitted under cross-examination on Thursday that he had not considered taking the four men into custody to carry out gun residue tests, even though witnesses had, soon after the shooting, identified the Gwalas and Nxumalo as being the gunmen.

Defence lawyer Paul Jorgensen said the State's assertion that the men should not be released due to fears of how IFP supporters would react was akin to “prosecuting the man who goes through the green light for failing to look out for cars going through the red light”.

He said the State's witnesses, who were part of the group of IFP supporters that had marched on the Gwala household, had “a strong motive for falsely implicating people”.

Hlophe said he would hand down his decision on whether Mgezeni “Bhungu” Gwala, his son Mjabulelwa Gwala, and Nxumalo should be granted bail on December 20.

NFP and IFP supporters were at the court. The police controlled access.

Shezi was killed shortly after Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa addressed IFP supporters at a sports field in A-section, KwaMashu, on October 6. She had been wearing an IFP T-shirt.

Mthethwa was speaking to the IFP supporters in an attempt to reduce tension in the area after the abduction of IFP councillor Themba Xulu. He was later found murdered.

At the time Xulu was out on bail for allegedly attempting to burn down Bhungu Gwala's house. - Sapa


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