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Witness tells of fatal hijacking

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Copy of ND Enmin Guo (40773305)

Durban - An emotional young man has told the Durban High Court how he flagged down a passing car and pleaded for help in getting his wounded father to hospital.

Enmin Guo has been flown in from China by the State to testify against three men accused of killing his father, Ruiping Guo, in a kidnapping and robbery.

He had to testify this week as he was emigrating to the US and would not be available to return.

The trial got off to a delayed start this week. Khulekani Zuma, 32, said he had been sick on Monday, and on Tuesday, Xolani Memela, 33, wanted to fire his lawyer. Yesterday, Memela said they had resolved their differences so the trial could continue.

Zuma, Memela and Nqobile Qwabe, 25, have pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances and murder. Memela also pleaded not guilty to the unlawful possession of a semi-automatic pistol and ammunition that were found in his possession.

Guo testified, through a Mandarin interpreter, that he and his father had been living in oThongathi for six years, where they owned a shop.

On September 27, 2012, they drove to the city centre in their Mercedes-Benz panel van, with about R50 000 to buy stock for their shop. They had made several stops before they reached the intersection of Ingcunce (Albert) and Charlotte Maxeke (Beatrice) streets.

“While waiting at the robot, I suddenly heard a loud bang and then saw my father (who was in the driver’s seat) slump backwards and saw one of the robbers break the driver’s side window with the butt of his gun and open the driver’s side door,” said Guo.

He identified Zuma in court on Wednesday as the robber who broke the window.

Guo said he’d realised that the loud bang was a gunshot when he saw his father was wounded in the chest.

“I tried to pull my father out from the passenger side, when another robber tried to push himself into the van,” he said.

Guo at this point identified Qwabe as the second robber. He said Qwabe got in and Zuma drove the van away. He sat in the middle while his father lay on the floor at his feet. Qwabe, he said, had instructed him to lower his head at times and he would tell him when to raise it.

“They drove very fast and when I raised my head, I saw we were on the N3 freeway. On the way… I told them they could have the van and everything they wanted and to just let us go,” Guo testified.

He said Qwabe had asked him for money and when Guo said he did not have any, they took petty cash from his pocket and his cellphone. Guo said Zuma drove on to a dirt road, a place he did not know. He said they had passed the Molweni cemetery where he then saw a car in front of them. He identified Memela as the person in this car who went straight to the passenger door and searched Guo’s father’s pockets for money. He said Zuma and Memela had guns and Memela pointed his at him, demanding money.

Guo told them the money had been spent on stock. After showing them the stock, Guo said Zuma used a cloth from the van to wipe fingerprints off the steering wheel and door handles.

“He (Zuma) instructed me to move the van forward and before doing so, closed in the side-view mirrors. I drove a short distance and made a U-turn. I didn’t see them any more. I drove another 200m and flagged down a car with a male and female inside. I told them… my father was injured,” Guo said.

He followed them to a clinic, where his father died. He tearfully described how the two good Samaritans had driven him to his sister’s house in Durban North and back to the clinic in Inanda. Guo later took police to the area where the men had left him and his father.

Cross-examination begins on Thursday.

noelene.barbeau@inl.co.za

Daily News


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