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Cape Town - A Khayelitsha street committee member told the Western Cape High Court that she saw part of the attack on two of the three men who were killed, allegedly by a vigilante group, after a television set was stolen.
Nomthunzi Nobanda, of Harare in Khayelitsha, testified on Tuesday in the case against six people who were on trial following the murders of Mabhuti Matinise, 20, Luxolo Mpontshane, 25, and Sivuyile Rola, 28.
The three men were allegedly kidnapped and tortured for nine hours as they were suspected of having stolen the television set from a Khayelitsha businessman.
On trial are Mziwabantu Madiba Mncwengi, his brother Mzimasi, sister-in-law Buyelwa Mncwengi, Lumnko Babalaza, Xolani Makapela and Mawende Siboma.
Nobanda testified that on the morning of March 14 last year, Mziwabantu Mncwengi came to her house to apologise for beating her son, Mphuthumi, who was also suspected of having been among the group who stole the television set.
Mncwengi allegedly told her they had found Rola near a bridge in the area and had agreed to take him to the Endlovini informal settlement to find the stolen television set.
But Nobanda testified that Mncwengi had instead taken Rola to his house, also in Harare, and started assaulting him. A large crowd gathered to watch the commotion.
Nobanda said she spotted Mpontshane “wrestling” with Mziwabantu Mncwengi. Buyelwa Mncwengi had allegedly intervened and hit Mpontshane over the head with an iron rod.
“I shouted: ‘Madiba! Madiba! Don’t assault other people’s children’,” Nobanda recalled. She offered to pay for the television set and meet the suspected thieves’ parents, but to no avail.
Around the same time Babalaza arrived on the scene and he, Mziwabantu Mncwengi and Makapela allegedly tied up the men and loaded them on to a bakkie.
Mzimasi Mncwengi, driving a minibus, arrived soon after with Matinise.
Nobanda watched as the accused drove off with the men.
That evening Nobanda went to a nearby shop and heard Buyelwa Mncwengi shout: “We killed the children and burnt them and left them in Macassar.”
The bodies of the men were found dumped between the Macassar sand dunes soon afterwards.
Nobanda is expected to be cross-examined on Wednesday.