Durban — Cross-examination during the murder trial of an ANC branch leader became heated in the Durban High Court on Tuesday as the State put it to an accused on the stand that he had pulled the trigger of the gun that killed Thulani Nxumalo in September 2018.
The accused, Nkosinathi Mbambo, appeared angry and responded to questions in an aggressive manner.
Mbambo is alleged to have conspired with Nkosiyanda Ndlovu and induna of KwaNdengezi Felokwakhe Ndlovu to kill Nxumalo.
The trio face charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
State senior advocate Lawrence Gcaba had asked Mbambo about land he wanted to buy from his co-accused Felokwakhe. Felokwakhe is alleged to have been selling land in his area for personal gain. The State alleges that when Nxumalo started investigating Felokwakhe’s actions he decided to ask Ndlovu and Mbambo to assist him in killing Nxumalo.
Mbambo kept changing his version of the story on how he was going to buy land from Felokwakhe and how he knew his cousin Thabo Mabaso.
Mbambo denied being best friends with Mabaso. Mbambo further disputed making a confession to the police. The questions around that made him aggressive and that is when Gcaba bluntly said: “The hands you are folding pulled the trigger, you killed that man.” Mbambo denied this.
Gcaba asked Mbambo how they met Felokwakhe and what their discussion was pertaining to the land. Mbambo said he met Felokwakhe through Mabaso from his hometown, KwaNgcolosi. He said Mabaso was related to Felokwakhe. On the day they met, they did not speak much about land, but arranged to meet to discuss the matter further. Moreover, he said, for three weeks he had been calling Felokwakhe to arrange a meeting, but this was unsuccessful because he was in meetings as an induna or at work.
He told the court that they bumped into each other at Sanlam Centre in Pinetown. He said that was when they met Ndlovu, who was with Felokwakhe. However, he told the court that they did not talk about land. He said the two gave him a lift to his taxi rank which was not far from the centre.
“Why didn't you speak about the land with Felokwakhe, bearing in mind that you have been looking for him,” asked Gcaba.
Mbambo said what stopped him was that he was rushing home as church congregants were going to come there later in the day.
“I had wanted us to sit down and discuss that aspect, ask him if there was land available and how much I had to pay.
“But when Felokwakhe was in the box, he said there was already a plot prepared for you. Is that true?”
Mbambo said he did not know because Felokwakhe had not told him. Gcaba further asked him why he went to Pinetown on the day Felokwakhe asked the State witness, Celani Dlamini, to fetch Mbambo and take him to his house. He said he normally went there because that was where he worked and that he was going to relax with acquaintances.
However, Gcaba argued that Felokwakhe had told the court that there was an arrangement for Mbambo to come to his home on that day with his best friend Mabaso. “He said you delayed and Mabaso arrived first and that is when he asked Dlamini to fetch you in Pinetown because he needed you,” said Gcaba.
Mbambo disputed this and said there was no arrangement, but admitted that Felokwakhe called him and said he needed him to come to his home, and that Dlamini would fetch him. However, he ended up not going with Dlamini because he was rushing somewhere and had also received a call from his girlfriend who was upset, and he had to go back. The matter continues (on Wednesday) today. The trio are in custody.
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