Political tensions high in KZN court

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Independent Newspapers

Durban - Tension ran high in Durban's regional courtroom on Wednesday while supporters of rival political parties waited for decision on murder charges against three NFP members.

The court gallery was packed with members of the Inkatha Freedom Party and the National Freedom Party.

Magistrate Trevor Levitt was expected to rule on an application for the murder charges to be dropped.

NFP 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.

This happened after IFP supporters converged on the Gwala home, near the Thembalihle railway station, in KwaMashu.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa had addressed IFP supporters at a sports field in A-section, KwaMashu, earlier that day. Shezi was wearing an IFP T-shirt at the time.

Mthethwa spoke 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.

Celimphilo Gwala and Nxumalo are in custody. Bhungu Gwala is out on bail of R20 000.

Simphiwe Moloi, for the Gwalas, brought the application for the charges to be dropped.

The SABC reported on Monday that the court heard testimony from the commander of the KwaMashu police station commissioner Brigadier Zakhele Nzama.

He reportedly testified that Mgezeni Gwala was at the police station waiting to speak to Mthethwa at the time of the shooting.

Nxumalo's lawyer Lungile Kheswa was arguing on Wednesday for a discharge of the case against his client.

He said none of the witnesses had positively identified Nxumalo, but had given different descriptions of a stranger who was shooting.


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