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Durban - The trial of three men accused of shooting dead an IFP supporter had to be postponed on Tuesday after witnesses failed to turn up and the investigating officer was booked off sick.
Postponing the matter to Wednesday, Magistrate Trevor Levitt ordered that the prosecution answer why there were no witnesses and no “substitute” investigating officer.
The court was told that the investigating officer was sick.
“The prosecutor needs to inform the court why subpoenas were not served (on witnesses). It may be that they (the witnesses) have gone into hiding. Maybe they are scared. We need to know,” said Levitt.
National Freedom Party councillor Mgezeni “Bhungu” Gwala, his son Celimpilo “Mjabelelwa” Gwala, and security guard Skhumbuzo Nxumalo are accused of shooting dead Cebisile Shezi on October 6, 2012, after Inkatha Freedom Party supporters converged on the Gwala home, near the Thembalihle railway station, in KwaMashu.
IFP supporters converged on Gwala's house shortly after Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa addressed IFP supporters at a sports field in A-section, KwaMashu, that day. Shezi was wearing an IFP T-shirt at the time.
Mthethwa had been speaking to IFP supporters in an attempt to reduce tension in the area after the abduction of IFP councillor Themba Xulu.
Xulu was out on bail after being arrested for allegedly trying to burn down Bhungu Gwala's house.
Xulu's body was found the next day. He had been shot.
Originally another son, Bonginhlanhla Gwala, and another security guard, Sibusiso Ncengwa, were also charged with the shooting.
Charges against them were withdrawn after it emerged that closed circuit television showed Bonginhlanhla Gwala was at his apartment in Umhlanga and Ncengwa was working in Umbilo, Durban, on the day of the shooting.
Nxumalo's lawyer Lungile Kheswa asked the court to take another look at bail for his client in light of the postponements.
Levitt said he would reconsider the issue when the court reconvened on Wednesday.
Celimphilo Gwala and Nxumalo are in custody while Bhungu Gwala is out on bail of R20 000.