Durban — A police sergeant accused of killing a man for leaning against his car received a tongue-lashing from a Pinetown magistrate for undermining the court on Wednesday.
Sibonelo Christopher Shabangu is charged with the murder of Qaphela Mdima.
Shabangu allegedly shot Mdima multiple times with his service pistol outside Casablanca Lifestyle in Molweni, Hillcrest, in November last year.
Mdima was a father of five.
The matter was adjourned to August 3.
Shabangu was granted R5000 bail in December.
He pitched to court without a legal representative on Wednesday and told the court that he wanted to make an application to conduct his own defence.
This did not sit well with Magistrate MA Khumalo.
Khumalo advised Shabangu to apply for Legal Aid or instruct a private attorney if he could afford one. Khumalo reminded Shabangu that he was facing a murder charge and he could be sentenced to life imprisonment if found guilty.
“You must not think you came here and do as you please. If you carry on with this attitude, where it’s either your way or the highway, this matter will drag on for a long time. You either need to get a private attorney who will do things according to the law not the way you want. You can’t just bring any application here this is not a bush court,” said Khumalo.
Shabangu told the court that efforts to get another attorney had been unfruitful.
“I tried making contact with other attorneys, but we don't seem to be in sync or see eye to eye,” he said.
He changed his tune following Khumalo’s stern words.
“I’d like to find my own attorney, I’ll find an attorney within a week.”
Speaking outside court, Mdima’s older brother Qiniso Mdima, described Qaphela as a person who was always jovial.
“I have never seen him in conflict with anyone, I was always with him, and even on the day he was killed, I was with him. He was a people person, he was helpful and willing to help anyone,” Qiniso said.
He said his brother had been talking with people he knew, including a Durban Metro Police officer, when he was shot.
“His youngest child is not even a year old. His passing left a huge void in the family. It is especially hard on our mother as the year before Qaphela was killed we had just buried another one of our brothers,” Qiniso said.
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