Durban — The State has urged the Durban High Court to find Pinetown nurse Nomphumelelo Patricia Goncalves and her brother Nkosinathi Steve Zungu guilty of the murder and kidnapping of Transnet engineer and husband of Goncalves, Nkosi Timmy Langa.
In its arguments on the merits of the case, senior State prosecutor, advocate Krishen Shah, said the State witnesses were credible and had nothing to gain.
He further reminded the court that one of the witnesses, James Mashudu “Ramaphosa” Mthimkhulu, was already convicted and serving a sentence for his part in the crime.
“He took his punishment. He did not testify so that the court could discharge him. He did not seek to place more blame on any other person. “His evidence is corroborated by tracker, bank records and cellphone records,” said Shah.
Moreover, Shah said another witness, Mandisa Ngidi, who was in the car when Goncalves, Zungu and Ramaphosa were allegedly planning the murder of Langa, was credible.
“Mandisa was not dishonest, she did not know the person going to be killed was the husband. I accept the evidence of each witness. I asked that the accused are convicted on all the charges,” he said.
Shah said it was the foundation of a common purpose when the trio allegedly sat in the car and planned the murder of Langa, who was killed in 2020. He said Goncalves delayed reporting her husband missing.
“She made false statements to the police with the intent to throw them off,” said Shah.
On September 29, 2020, Langa was allegedly forced into his Isuzu X-Rider at his home near Hampshire Place in Pinetown and taken to a forest in Ozwathini by Zungu and Mthimkhulu where he was allegedly killed with an electric cord cut from an iron in his home.
The cord was put around his neck and Zungu allegedly pulled one end while Mthimkhulu pulled the other. His body was left in the forest.
Defence counsel, advocate Jabulisa Malinga, representing Zungu, said his client denied that he conspired to have Langa killed.
“He disputes that he was in the vicinity of the bushes where Langa was killed. In respect of the murder charge, as he had previously said, Langa died by mistake,” said Malinga.
He asked the court to reject the evidence of Ramaphosa and Mandisa, who he said was not Zungu’s girlfriend at the time.
Advocate Siphelele Zwane, representing Goncalves, said all the charges against his client were connected to one aspect and if it was not proven she should be acquitted. Zwane said the State needed to prove that beyond a reasonable doubt. He said Goncalves was never involved in the kidnapping, robbery or killing of her husband.
On that particular day when the planning is alleged to have taken place, Mandisa and Zungu met for the first time, he said. Zungu proposed love to her and she declined it and said it would never happen.
“Mandisa was a drunk minor who was among two strangers planning a murder. Why would Patricia (Goncalves) allow a stranger to be a part of this conversation? What makes it worse is that Mandisa was 16 at the time. She was drinking. I’m asking the court to look at the evidence as holistically as possible. Mandisa failed to tell the court a lot of things,” said Zwane.
Zwane said no reasonable person would allow a stranger to be a part of a murder they have nothing to do with. He said Mandisa’s evidence was questionable.
He further argued that the evidence of his client suggests that there was no agreement to pay Ramaphosa.
“He would have been paid before he did the job if there was an agreement,” explained Zwane.
Moreover, he told the court that it needs to be careful when dealing with the evidence of Ramaphosa. The court must ask itself this question: does the evidence prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt?
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