Murder rap councillor gets bail

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Siya Dlamini, an Inkatha Freedom Party member was shot outside the Ntuzuma Magistrate's Court in full view of police and television cameras. Picture: Independent Newspapers

Durban - Murder accused National Freedom Party councillor Mzonjani Zulu was granted R5000 bail by the Durban Regional Court on Wednesday.

Magistrate Trevor Levitt said it was in the interests of justice to release Zulu because he was a family man and operating a business which was struggling in his absence.

Zulu is accused of killing IFP supporter Siya Dlamini in October outside the Ntuzuma Magistrate's Court. Two shots were fired at Dlamini in full view of police and bystanders. This happened after the appearance of four men in connection with the shooting of an Inkatha Freedom Party supporter.

Earlier, Zulu told the court that he was defending himself when he shot dead Dlamini. Testifying in his bail application, Zulu said he was talking to a police officer when he saw three people approaching him.

One of the men grabbed his jacket after asking him what he was saying to the police officer about a person outside the court who was holding an assegai.

“I tried to pull myself out of his grip by moving backwards,” Zulu said.

The officer tried to stop the man, but moved towards Zulu. Zulu said he tried to move back and run away, but the man continued advancing.

“It was then when I took my firearm out of the holster, but at first it got stuck. I eventually managed to pull out the firearm and pointed it at him.

“I ordered him not to come close. I told him if he does I'll shoot him, but he continued advancing towards me.”

Zulu said he continued to retreat until he ran out of space, as there was a car behind him.

“After he noticed I could no longer move backwards, he advanced towards me. Then I fired a warning shot directed at his lower part of his body.

“He continued to come at me in a forceful manner, wanting to strike me. Then I shot him in the head.”

Zulu asked the court to grant him bail as he was taking care of his unemployed wife, five children, paying off a bond and running a taxi business. He told the court he intended to plead not guilty.

During cross-examination prosecutor Blackie Swart told the court Zulu had asked a police officer to take the assegai away from Dlamini.

“He 1/8the police officer 3/8 looked around and saw a man leaning on the spear standing with two other people. He told you he would not arrest the man because he wasn't posing a threat to you,” Swart said.

Zulu denied this, saying SABC news video footage would reveal what really happened.

Swart said three witnesses, including a police officer, said Dlamini had not provoked Zulu. He said the police officer described Zulu as rude and emotional.

The State opposed bail because of the seriousness of the crime. Lieutenant Michael Goge said Zulu's life could be in danger if he was released on bail.

Zulu's attorney Mdu Mvuni said to Goge that if Zulu was released on bail he would hire bodyguards to ensure his safety. He told the court Zulu would co-operate with investigations and could provide police with video footage of the shooting.

Zulu would be back in court on February 18. - Sapa


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