Murder-accused ex-ANC councillor fails to pay legal fees

Murder-accused former ward 101 ANC councillor Mzimuni Ngiba. Picture: Thokozani Mbunda

Murder-accused former ward 101 ANC councillor Mzimuni Ngiba. Picture: Thokozani Mbunda

Published Jan 23, 2024


Durban — Murder-accused former ward 101 ANC councillor Mzimuni Ngiba might be represented by Legal Aid should he fail to pay his lawyer advocate Andrew Matlamela’s outstanding fees.

On Monday, Matlamela told the Durban High Court that there were outstanding fees and if that was not sorted in the next two weeks he would withdraw as Ngiba’s counsel.

Ngiba and his co-accused Nkosinathi Emmanuel Ngcobo, Sandile Mzizi, Sifiso Mlondo and Phathisakhe Ngiba are accused of killing Siyabonga Mkhize, who was an ANC ward candidate for ward 101, and Mzukisi Nyanga, an ANC activist.

Both were shot and killed in 2021.

When State prosecutor advocate Nhlanhla Shange asked the court to postpone the pre-trial conference due to principal prosecutor advocate Lawrence Gcaba being tied down with another matter, the defence said it also had issues and agreed to the case being postponed.

Matlamela, who also represents Ngcobo, told the court that there was an issue of payment.

“We request that the matter be postponed. If the payment issue is not resolved they would have to seek legal aid,” said Matlamela.

The other counsel representing Mzizi and Mlondo also said they had a similar issue of outstanding fees but everything else was sorted. However, Phathisakhe’s lawyer from Legal Aid, Daniso said he had no issues.

“I have no issues, my Lord, I have everything,” said Daniso.

Before court proceedings started Ngiba spoke to his family members who were seated in the gallery. He told his family he felt sorry for the families of the victims as he is innocent.

“They are just playing politics. Why would I kill anyone because I always contest? One day the truth will come out,” said Ngiba.

Everyone looked at him, some shocked at his bold statement. However, his partner agreed with what he was saying.

“The truth always comes out, this is just politics,” she said.

Acting Judge Nicholson postponed the matter to February.

In November, the Durban Magistrate’s Court denied Ngiba and his three co-accused bail for the second time.

The court said there were no new facts. Phathisakhe did not apply for it as he is already serving a sentence for another matter.

The State alleges that Ngiba was intimidating its witnesses while in custody. It further alleges that the conspiracy to have Mkhize killed took place at Ngiba’s house.

Last year opposition political parties complained and even marched to the City Hall asking why Ngiba was still being paid as a councillor while being incarcerated.

In September 2023 his salary was then cut off. In December, ward 101 voted for another ward councillor in the by-elections.

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