Durban - Another accused in the murder of an IFP supporter in KwaMashu has been released on bail.
Sibusiso Ncengwa, National Freedom Party (NFP) councillor Bhungu Gwala, two of his sons, Celimpilo and Bonginhlanhla, and Skhumbuzo Nxumalo face charges of murdering IFP supporter Celiwe Shezi.
They also face charges of attempting to murder two other people in the same incident on October 6. Bonginhlanhla is out on R20 000 bail.
Shezi was among a group who were marching in the KwaMashu hostel area after IFP councillor Themba Xulu had been abducted the previous day. Xulu was later found dead.
Durban Regional Court magistrate Siphiwe Hlophe said on Friday that the State had acknowledged the case against Ncengwa was not strong.
“He has given the court his alibi and it has been confirmed by the investigating officer. It [would] be unjust that he be kept in custody any longer,” Hlophe said, before granting Ncengwa R2 000 bail.
Earlier, lawyers for the accused made their final arguments for their clients’ release on bail.
Advocate Paul Jorgensen, appearing for Gwala and Bonginhlanhla, said Gwala should be released, saying the State had doubts about its witnesses.
He said that in Gwala’s case the State was relying on one witness whose credibility was doubtful.
The witness had said Bonginhlanhla had been at the scene, whereas CCTV footage appeared to show that he had been at his flat in Umhlanga Rocks at the time.
“Number three [Gwala] has disclosed an alibi and there is no evidence to say his version is not correct,” Jorgensen said.
He said investigating officer Captain Nkosiyakhe Ntenga had been evasive and was not objective.
“He was exceptionally reluctant to answer any question that shed a favourable light [on] the accused.”
Jorgensen said Ntenga had conceded in court that he had not read some statements in his docket: “He has failed as the officer of the court,” he said.
Jorgensen said police should be out there doing their jobs, not keeping people behind bars for their protection. Ntenga had told the court that if the accused were released they would be killed.
Advocate Siphiwe Moloi, representing Ncengwa and Celimpilo, said Ncengwa should be released on bail because the State’s case was weak and the investigating officer had verified that he had been at work at the time of the killing.
Hlophe said he needed to study the evidence.
He would hand down his decision on bail on December 20, he said. - Daily News