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Durban - One of three men accused of the robbery and murder of a 78-year-old Pinetown man has pleaded guilty to both charges.
Durban High Court Judge Shyam Gyanda told Bhekumuzi Malondon Maduna, 33, on Wednesday that he would receive his sentence on Thursday.
Maduna, of Clermont, Mxolisi Pacific Mzimela, 27, of Dassenhoek, and Siphesihle Vilakazi, 18, of Kwadabeka in Clermont, were arrested in July last year after the stabbing of Karl Hendrik Potgieter during a robbery at his Ashley home on April 10.
While Maduna was delivering his plea, Mzimela and Vilakazi were on trial in another courtroom. They have pleaded not guilty to both charges.
In his plea, Maduna admitted they had broken into Potgieter’s home with the intention to rob and had assaulted him and tied him up.
He said they stole a Nissan bakkie, TV, computer equipment and a 7.65 pistol.
The three men were charged with housebreaking with intent to rob, robbery with aggravating circumstances and murder.
“I further plead guilty to the charge of murder,” said Maduna.
He told the court that on the day of the crimes, he had met Mzimela and Vilakazi.
“I requested money to buy food from them and also complained about being poverty stricken. It was at this stage that Vilakazi suggested to us that he knows a place which we could get money from,” Maduna said.
He said they were told by Vilakazi that he knew of an elderly white man (Potgieter), whom he had worked for as a gardener.
Maduna said when they arrived at Potgieter’s home, he was busy working in his garage.
“We went to the rear side of the property and jumped over the fence, whereafter I entered through the kitchen door which was not locked.”
He said they waited for Potgieterto come in.
“I grabbed hold of him and at that stage accused one (Mzimela) came in, to assist me. We managed to overpower the deceased and he fell on to the floor. We then managed to tie his hands as well as legs using electric cables and (a) belt found within premises,” said Maduna.
They put a towel over Potgieter’s head and asked Vilakazi to keep an eye on him.
Maduna said he and Mzimela then loaded goods into the bakkie.
“When we went back to the room where Siphesihle (Vilakazi) and the deceased had been, we discovered the deceased had been stabbed by accused 3 (Vilakazi).
“He told us that the deceased managed to remove the towel and recognised him as his former gardener. As a result thereof he decided to stab him,” said Maduna.
A post-mortem established that “penetrating injury to the left lung” resulted in Potgieter’s death. He died at the scene.
The three drove the bakkie to the Nazareth area, near Pinetown, where they met two unknown men and asked them to keep the goods.
He said the vehicle was left at a home in Hammarsdale.
Maduna admitted he knew that Vilakazi was armed and had foreseen the possibility that the knife could be used.
Potgieter’s grandson, Deon Oosthuizen, who was present in court during the plea, said he hoped the other accused would be found guilty as well.
“I didn’t think he would plead guilty,” said Oosthuizen.