After a Pietermaritzburg doctor had been shot three times, one of the alleged killers was heard saying on his cellphone that the “job had been done” and the money must be ready for collection.
This was the testimony of gunman Sabelo Dlamini, 29, who was on Tuesday convicted of Bhavish Sewram’s murder last May outside his surgery in Dr Chota Motala Road. He pleaded guilty.
His trial was separated from that of Mfaniseni Nxumalo, Brian Treasurer and businessman Rajivee Soni, who intended pleading not guilty.
The State alleges that Soni hired Treasurer, who in turn hired the other two, to kill Sewram. Soni suspected the doctor was having an affair with his wife.
Dlamini, who made a living cutting grass, said he knew Nxumalo and Treasurer, because he used to visit Nxumalo and had helped him build a crèche.
He said that on May 12 last year he was drinking when Nxumalo and a man had approached them.
“Nxumalo told me that the doctor had hired him to cut grass and later the doctor (the deceased) refused to pay him the money as per agreement.”
Nxumalo wanted the doctor dead because they had argued and asked Dlamini to shoot him.
The next day, Nxumalo phoned Dlamini and called him to his house. He found Treasurer and Nxumalo in Treasurer’s car.
Dlamini got in and Treasurer drove to Raisethorpe. He stopped and Nxumalo and Treasurer pointed to the doctor’s surgery.
“Treasurer produced a firearm, he cocked it, gave it to me and said that Nxumalo and I must alight from the vehicle and proceed to the doctor’s surgery,” said Dlamini.
Nxumalo told Dlamini that when the surgery lights went off, he must cross the road and kill the doctor, which he did.
Driving home, said Dlamini, Treasurer called someone and said the job had been done and the money must be ready. Nxumalo and Dlamini were dropped off and Treasurer later returned and paid him R12 000, he said.
Attorney Eric Zaca argued that Dlamini supported his ill sister and her two children of school-going age. His parents died when he was young and he was brought up by his grandmother.
Dlamini had not discussed the killing until his arrest because he was threatened that he would be killed and there were people “watching” him, said Zaca. Even in custody, he felt unsafe.
He said Dlamini had conveyed his apologies to Sewram’s family and friends. He pleaded guilty and showed remorse. Zaca said while Dlamini had killed for money - which showed that the life of another person was cheap - he should not be sentenced to life imprisonment, taking all the other factors into account.
State advocate Sandesh Sankar asked that a lengthy prison term be imposed.
Sentencing is on Wednesday.