“It has been a nightmare for us. My brother is survived by two children. His daughter was studying medicine at the time of her father’s murder. She had to drop out because my brother was not there to help her.
“My brother’s house had to be sold because we could not afford to keep it,” said Simphiwe Zondi, the brother of slain principal Nkosinathi Zondi.
He said his niece and nephew had no parents because their mother died in 2011 and then his brother in 2013.
On May 9, 2013, Zondi had been preparing to leave his uMlazi home and go to Nyonemhlophe Primary School in Umtwalume. He was confronted by the killers in his yard, and was fatally shot.
Zondi had also headed the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union’s Mbuso Shabalala District at the time. It was alleged that his murder was related to him blowing the whistle on corrupt dealings in the district. Apparently the alleged wrongdoers feared that Zondi’s whistle-blowing would result in them having to face charges.
While Zondi’s family welcomed the conviction of three men at the Durban High Court earlier this month for his murder, they felt there were still too many unanswered questions.
“The people who ordered my brother’s murder are still out there. We have no closure,” said Simphiwe Zondi.
The case came to a close after five years last Thursday when Mbuso Makhoba, 37, Andile Zulu, 36, and Sandile Mzisi, 36, all received life sentences for their role in Zondi’s murder. Makhoba and Zulu were the hired guns in the hit, for which they were paid R12000. Mzisi, who was also a member of the school governing body at Nyonemhlophe Primary School, was the facilitator of the hit.
“One of the accused was going to turn State witness at one stage during the trial. He was prepared to tell the court who conspired and ordered the hit on my brother. But, at the last minute he retracted. So we still don’t have justice against those who ordered my brother’s murder,” said Simphiwe.
As the trial proceeded, allegations were levelled against two other people - one, a principal and the other an official at the Department of Education’s offices on the South Coast. However, these charges were later dropped.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said the case was now closed.
“The accused who was going to turn State witness decided not to testify, so we have no more witnesses in the case. There is also no evidence against those who have been alleged to have ordered the hit. That said, if we can get any new evidence, we can definitely re-open the case,” he said.
Simphiwe said while he understood the dilemma that the police faced, it left them with little recourse.
“These people are still out there. Who knows, they may take a hit out on someone else? It is very difficult. We can only hope that one day we will have closure.”
Sadtu provincial secretary Nomarashiya Caluza vowed to not let go of the matter.
“We will continue to push for an investigation to dig deeper into the matter, until those who ordered the hit on Comrade Zondi are brought to justice.”