Lawyer attempts to save bullied pupil

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Tsundzukani Mthombeni

Independent Newspapers

Tsundzukani Mthombeni faces charges of premeditated murder, the unlawful possession of a firearm as well as the unlawful possession of ammunition. Picture: Sharon Seretlo

Johannesburg - The lawyer representing the schoolboy accused of shooting dead his alleged bully believes the killing was not premeditated and has applied for the matter to be diverted.

Tsundzukani Mthombeni faces charges of premeditated murder, the unlawful possession of a firearm as well as the unlawful possession of ammunition.

Mthombeni allegedly used his policewoman mother’s firearm to shoot 18-year-old Nkululeko Ndlovu in the head at Phineas Xulu Secondary School in Vosloorus. Ndlovu died at the scene.

At the time of the shooting on November 20, 2012, Mthombeni was about to write an exam.

Mthombeni, 19, appeared on Tuesday in the Johannesburg High Court, which is sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court. The trial was postponed to a later date.

State prosecutor advocate Vincent Maphiri said they were still awaiting a response from the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) on an application made last year by Mthombeni’s lawyer, advocate William Karam.

Karam applied to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for Mthombeni to be sent into one of the diversion programmes aimed at young people who have been accused of crime. Instead of being prosecuted and spending time in prison, they enter programmes aimed at rehabilitating them.

Speaking to The Star on Tuesday, Karam said the DPP had turned down their application.

“We were not happy about that and appealed against the refusal to the NDPP, and are now awaiting the outcome. My client was young at the time of the shooting.

“He had been severely bullied and it was not a once-off thing. He had complained to the school, but they did nothing and he took the law into his hands.

“He is now charged with premeditated murder, and it is certainly not so, because if it was, would he have not gone to find him (Ndlovu)? We say it was accidental,” Karam said.

According to the indictment, Ndlovu and his friend Nkululeko Biyela went to Mthombeni’s classroom and approached him with the intention of fighting with him. Mthombeni then pulled out a gun and fired one shot. No one was hit.

Ndlovu then slapped him and Mthombeni fired three shots at him, shooting him in the head, the document said.

Mthombeni, who is out on R1 000 bail, has since left Gauteng and attends school in Limpopo.

When The Star visited the school the morning after the shooting in 2012, pupils said Ndlovu was a well-known bully who preyed on children with his gang. They said they felt no grief at his death, only a sense of freedom that his reign of terror had been ended.

“We are relieved that he is dead. We will now eat our food and spend our money,” a pupil at the school said at the time.

Two years before Mthombeni shot him, Ndlovu was expelled from a Boksburg school.

botho.molosankwe@inl.co.za

The Star


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