Durban - The SANDF soldier who allegedly went on a shooting spree at the home of his girlfriend, killing one person and injuring three others fired his attorney and the advocate instructed to conduct his guilty plea on Thursday.
It was the second time in two years that Thembinkosi American Ngcobo fired his legal team. It came just moments before the former rifleman was expected to plead guilty in the Durban High Court.
At the last minute he changed his mind.
In October 2017 he firef Thenjiwe Mbatha and the instructed advocate Louis Barnard.
Barnard had already prepared a plea statement for the court, but told the court that Ngcobo was not happy with the way he has handled things and has terminated the mandate and there were no further instructions given to him.
The Durban High Court was packed with family members of the victims who were disappointed that the guilty plea could not take place.
Ngcobo was instructed by the court to arrange for a new attorney for the trial to start on Monday.
In January 2017 Ngcobo allegedly told his commanding officer in Upington, where he was based, that he was on a mission to kill his fiancé and their two-month-old baby. He denied the child’s paternity.
Ngcobo was a Rifleman with the 8 South African Infantry Battalion. During his bail application in February 2017, Investigating officer Lieutenant-Colonel Wise Mabanga testified that it was discovered that Ngcobo had deserted his post during the night. He was due to stand guard at the base but had complained of a sore stomach.
It is alleged that he then left the base. It was later revealed that Ngcobo had taken his cellphone and belongings.
He had driven to Durban in a fit of jealousy. There, he allegedly shot his girlfriend’s sister and her friend. A policeman was also wounded in the January 31 incident.
Mabanga had told the court he had called Ngcobo, who apparently said he had killed his sister-in-law. This was when Mabanga pleaded with him to surrender himself.
The soldier eventually handed himself over to police in February.