Pals blame minor for bridge-rock death

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candella road bridge

THE MERCURY

Cars travel along the N3 under the Candella Road bridge where Siphesihle Zola Zuma died after a concrete block came crashing through the windscreen of the car in which she was travelling. Picture: Zanele Zulu

Durban - The youngest of the three teenagers charged with causing the death of a young woman by throwing a concrete block from a bridge claims that he does not know why his co-acccused are blaming him for the crime.

Lucky Leon Khumalo, 18, Brandon Phillip, 18, and their 16-year-old friend, who cannot be named, are charged with the murder of student Siphesihle Zola.

She was killed when a concrete slab, thrown from the Candella Road bridge near Spaghetti Junction, smashed through the windscreen of her friend Gertrude Mankaba’s Mercedes-Benz on the N3 highway in November 2010.

State witness Navine Nagdutt testified that he was in his house when he saw three young men – whom he said were the three accused – throwing stones off the bridge.

Khumalo and Phillip both testified that the teenager threw the concrete slab off the bridge by himself.

On Monday, the soft-spoken 16-year-old told the court that he and his co-accused had been throwing stones at road signs from the bridge.

“As we were walking on the bridge we started throwing stones at each other. Accused one first threw a stone at me. Then we decided to throw stones at the road signs.”

He added that he and his co-accused then picked up a concrete slab.

“We just wanted to see if we could carry it, but after a while I let it go because it was heavy and I was tired.

“Then I saw a car coming towards us under the bridge and when I looked back towards the others, they were not carrying the concrete slab. It was gone. I did not know what happened, but the two of them told me to run.”

Attorney Mohammed Hassim, who is acting for Khumalo and Phillip, asked the boy why his friends would falsely implicate him. The boy replied: “I do not know why they said it was me – maybe because I am the youngest among us. I could not have carried it by myself, it was too heavy.”

Prosecutor Krishen Shah told the teenager he was trying to diminish his role in the incident by claiming he dropped the slab.

The boy denied this and said he was telling the court the truth.

The trial was adjourned to February for closing arguments.

The Mercury


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