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July unrest violence victims ‘were in Phoenix to buy drugs’

In just over a month it will be a year since the civil unrest in July that saw property damaged and lives lost in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi African News Agency (ANA) Archives

In just over a month it will be a year since the civil unrest in July that saw property damaged and lives lost in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published May 24, 2022

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Durban - On July 12, 2021, during the civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal, Njabulo Dlamini, who died at the hands of those who carried out racially profiled attacks in Phoenix, had been in the area to purchase drugs.

This is detailed in the indictment of Ravine Naidoo, Trevor Gopal, Shaheed Gopal, Julian Maharaj, Tyreece Govender and Timothy Govender who are charged with murder, attempted murder, robbery with aggravated circumstances, and public violence.

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It says that on that day Dlamini, 31, a resident of Inanda who was employed as a taxi driver in his family’s business, and his friends drove in a Toyota Quantum minibus taxi to Tees Tavern in Phoenix to buy drugs.

It’s alleged that before they arrived, Trevor Gopal had told his co-accused, his security guards, and some members of the community outside his tavern to attack looters.

“After buying drugs at Tees Tavern, the deceased’s friends were ordered out of the taxi by the accused and other persons armed with firearms and other weapons. They were assaulted with different weapons by the accused and other persons. They fled the scene going to different directions, leaving behind the deceased in the kombi.”

It is alleged the accused severely assaulted the deceased and set alight the kombi they had arrived in.

It is further alleged the deceased’s friends were apprehended and brought back to the scene where they were assaulted again until police arrived.

“A subsequent post-mortem examination revealed the cause of death as being blunt force head injuries.”

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The men collectively face 10 charges, contravention of section 18 (b) of the Riotous Assemblies Act 17 of 1956 – incitement to commit public violence (applicable to Trevor Gopal only), murder, and five attempted murders, robbery with aggravated circumstances, malicious damage to property and public violence.

They are alleged to have killed Dlamini and attempted to kill Sanele Sandile Sambo and Nkosikhona Madlala by hitting them with golf sticks, baseball bats and a sjambok as well as putting wooden pallets on his (Dlamini’s) body and pouring liquid fuel on him with the intent to burn them alive.

They are also alleged to have attempted to kill Mthobisi Ntuli by hitting him with golf sticks, baseball bats, an iron rod and sjambok on the head and body.

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It alleged the men also attempted to kill Linda Khawula by hitting her with a sjambok and sticks on her head, mouth, and body.

They are also alleged to have attempted to kill Sanele Merase in a similar manner as the others.

The six men appeared briefly in the Durban High Court on Monday where the matter was postponed to July 25 for statements.

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