Fourth arrest in principal’s killing

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Members of the SA Democratic Teachers Union packed the uMlazi Magistrates Court on Tuesday, booing three education officials who have been charged with the murder of a school principal last year. They sang struggle songs outside court and carried placards calling for bail to be opposed. Picture: DOCTOR NGCOBO

Durban - Another suspect has been arrested in connection with the murder of South Coast school principal Nkosinathi Zondi.

The arrest on Monday brings to three the number of school principals in custody.

Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said the suspect had been arrested late on Monday and was expected to appear in the uMlazi Magistrate’s Court today.

Three other accused – two school principals and a district director – appeared in court on Tuesday and had expected to apply for bail because they were allegedly told at the time of their arrest that the State would not oppose it.

But the State indicated it would contest bail and that the formal bail application would only be heard on Monday.

Ugu district director, Mfundo Sibiya, and school principals, Lindani Mkhize and Mhlengi Luthuli, have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder, and are expected to join four other men – Ndolile Shezi, Andile Zulu, Mbuso Makhoba and Sandile Mzizi – in the dock when the trial begins.

The four were arrested last year after Zondi, the principal of Nyonemhlophe High School, was shot by two men at his uMlazi home last May.

None of the accused has yet pleaded.

Mzizi, accused of organising a hit on Zondi, was the governing body chairman at Khathi High School near Hibberdene.

It is also alleged that school governing body funds were used to carry out the murder.

Mkhize and Luthuli’s lawyer, BM Ngcobo, expressed shock when told on Tuesday that bail would be opposed.

He told the court his clients were decent men who were well known in their communities.

“Yes, there is nothing decent about the charges they face but that is no reason for the State to oppose bail and the fact that they handed themselves over should count in their favour,” said Ngcobo.

Sibiya, who represented himself as he could not get hold of his attorney, expressed anger at spending the rest of the week in prison while waiting for his formal bail application on Monday.

“The investigating officer said our bail application would be heard today (Tuesday) and I am ready to do the application. I have all the information required to carry on with the application myself,” he said.

However, magistrate Saeed Cadir granted the State’s application to have the bail application on Monday.

Said prosecutor, Yuthika Munsaur: “It is due to the nature of the charges that the State is opposed to bail.

“The accused know all the witnesses in the matter and may intimidate them if granted bail and there is direct evidence implicating all three accused to the case.”

She said that those factors were reason enough for the men to flee without standing trial.

The matter was adjourned to Monday, April 7.

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