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Two fail to identify ‘axe man’

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Durban - Two witnesses in the trial of former Blue Bulls rugby player Phindile Joseph Ntshongwana could not identify him as the murderer, the Durban High Court heard on Monday.

Peter Gauldie and Gildred Donelly said it was dark and they could not see the man who hacked Thembelenkosini Cebekhulu in Montclair on March 20, 2011.

Ntshongwana is charged with hacking four people to death with an axe: Cebekhulu, Paulos Hlongwa two days later, Simon Ngidi the following day, and an unidentified man sometime that week.

He is also accused of kidnapping and raping a woman on November 28, 2010, and of a charge of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Gauldie told the court he was driving in his car when he saw a person beating down on someone, in a chopping motion, near Kennywood Road in Montclair on March 20, 2011.

He said he drove on 50 metres and pulled over at the side of the road to call the police.

Afterwards, he did a U-turn and drove back. On his return he saw only a person lying at the side of the road.

“I could see he had been beheaded,” Gauldie said.

He said he saw someone drive away in silver grey Corsa light or a Peugeot 206.

Donelly told the court he was on his way to drop off someone in Montclair when he saw a man on the ground and another on standing slightly bent over him.

“I could see him chopping him on his head with an axe, I didn't see his face.”

Donnely drove past and called the police. When he returned, he could not see the assailant.

He said the man responsible for the attack had been wearing black tracksuit pants, a black top and a cap.

Both witnesses told the court they saw Cebekhulu being attacked at 9.40pm.

Another witness, Mhleli Sbongo Tholo, said he was assaulted by Ntshongwana on November 26, 2010, on Sterling Road in Yellowood Park.

He said he was returning home when Ntshongwana approached him and asked if he knew a woman named Zama.

He told Ntshongwana he did not know her. After walking about five steps away from him, Ntshongwana struck him with a baton on his forehead.

“After five seconds I gained consciousness and Ntshongwana was sitting on top of me. He was striking me with a baton.”

He said he tried to get Ntshongwana off him, but was overpowered. He called for help, a neighbour switched on some lights and Ntshongwana ran to a silver grey Chevrolet.

Tholo said he had been attacked by Ntshongwana at 8.30pm.

The court was filled to capacity with relatives of the deceased. Four police officers were also monitoring court proceedings.

The trial continues on Tuesday. - Sapa


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