3 Big KZN court cases that shook us in 2020
Durban - THE year 2020 may have been a slow year in the court room due to Covid-19 which delayed justice for many victims of crime and their families. However, some who had waited for years for closure, were able to witness justice being served.
Some cases were delayed for months due to the lockdown while many members of the public — with a keen interest in some of the biggest criminal cases — were unable to have access to courtrooms as the number of attendees were limited due to Covid-19 regulations.
After numerous delays in delivering judgment and sentence in the murder and kidnapping case of Sydenham boy, Miguel Louw, the Durban High Court finally handed down its verdict.
It found Mohamed Vahed Ebrahim guilty of the 2018 murder and kidnapping of the boy, and theft.
Ten-year-old Miguel went missing in July 2018 while on his way home from school.
He was last seen on video footage with Ebrahim at KFC in Sydenham, buying him a meal.
His decomposed body was found in September 2018 buried in a shallow grave in Phoenix, not far from Ebrahim’s home.
Ebrahim had pleaded not guilty to all three counts, and claimed that he only bought the boy a meal at KFC.
Senior State advocate Kelvin Singh’s case was that Ebrahim had kidnapped Miguel after a heated argument with his mother, Raylene Louw, who told him during the argument that she did not love him and he should stay away from her and her children.
Ebrahim is expected to be sentenced in February, but the long awaited conviction was described as a bitter sweet victory by the boy's family.
Miguel's aunt Tasneem dos Santos told the media shortly after Ebrahim was convicted that the family was glad that justice was served at last.
Another big case in 2020 was the murder trial against Thabani Mzolo. He was arrested for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Zolile Khumalo.
Khumalo was shot in her room at Lonsdale student residence of the Mangosuthu University of Technology in the full view of her roommates and a friend on May 1, 2018.
Mzolo, who did not deny shooting Khumalo, 21, had denied that the firearm belonged to him.
Judge Nompumelelo Radebe convicted Mzolo, 26, and sentenced him to life imprisonment on March 4.
The sentence included 15 years for possession of an illegal firearm and three years for possession of illegal ammunition. The sentences will run concurrently with the murder sentence.
The court’s decision was received as sweet justice by the Khumalo family who said they had lost a loved one with a bright future.
Senior State advocate Kelvin Singh had proven his case that Khumalo’s murder was premeditated and that Mzolo had made several calls to his friends after he shot and killed Khumalo in cold blood.
The case was used to campaign against the scourge of gender-based violence at MUT and in society.
The family of Amanda Sithembile Myaka of Waterloo in Verulam also had an opportunity to find closure in 2020 after the Durban High Court convicted her killer and sentenced him to two life terms for murder and rape.
Judge Shyam Gyanda found that no other person would have come to Laston Moodley’s house, raped the 7-year old and then killed her in cold blood.
Judge Gyanda was of the view that far from being a victim of circumstances, Moodley was in fact the person who raped and murdered Amanda.
The 7-year old girl was found near a block of flats not far from Moodley’s flat, just moments after she was last seen playing with her friends.
Judge Gyanda found that Moodley, a call centre agent, had lured Amanda to his house by offering her a chocolate.
On the charge of murder, Judge Gyanda concluded that Moodley killed Amanda to silence her because he knew that she would tell her grandmother.
State advocate Krishen Shah had asked the court to impose the maximum sentence on both counts of rape and murder, stating that the incident had caused the community a great deal of anger and the family a lot of pain.