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Suspect contradicts himself in murder of ANC leader trial

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Published Apr 13, 2023

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Durban — An accused in the murder case of ANC branch leader Thulani Nxumalo, who was killed in 2018, contradicted himself in the dock when he told the Durban High Court on Wednesday that he never spoke to Nxumalo about land and that he had no relationship with his co-accused, Nkosinathi Mbambo.

The accused, Felokwakhe Ndlovu, who is an induna at KwaNdengezi, is accused with Mbambo and Nkosiyanda Ndlovu of the murder of Nxumalo.

The trio are also accused of conspiracy to commit murder, and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition. The State alleges that Ndlovu approached Nkosiyanda and Mbambo to assist him in killing Nxumalo.

Nxumalo sustained bullet wounds to the head, neck and chest. The State alleges that he was killed because he had condemned Ndlovu for selling land for his own personal gain. The land was meant for community development.

When Ndlovu was in the dock, State advocate Lawrence Gcaba asked him to clarify what witness Celani Dlamini had previously told the court, that he had a relationship with Mbambo. Ndlovu said it was a lie, he only knew Mbambo through his cousin, Thula Mabaso, from KwaNgcolosi.

“I’ve never visited his home. We’ve only seen each other on the street, the time I was at my cousin’s house and at the time I bumped into him in Pinetown,” said Ndlovu.

Ndlovu, who is also accused of bribing two high-ranking cops, Lieutenant Colonel Khephu and Hawks Captain Bonginkosi Dlamini, with R120 000 to fudge evidence in this case, disputed that he once told Celani Dlamini that his two co-accused were giving him trouble because he had asked them to kill Nxumalo.

Gcaba cornered Ndlovu and asked him if he had sold land, given to the community of KwaNdengezi by the Ingonyama Trust for community development, for his personal gain. He denied it. He then asked him about the time he had requested Dlamini to give Mbambo a lift to his home but Dlamini was not able to and Mbambo ended up not coming to him.

“This court has been informed that when Mbambo takes the stand he will say he wanted to meet you because he wanted to buy land from you,” said Gcaba.

But Ndlovu said he wanted to meet Mbambo because he and his cousin (Mabaso) were going to be talking to a Mrs Mabaso from KwaNdengezi to sell Mbambo part of her land as she had sold it to his cousin.

Gcaba also asked him if Mabaso knew that he was an induna and all his duties. Ndlovu replied that his cousin knew his duties and role. He said a person would only pay R700 to get land at KwaNdengezi. He said this would be for snacks, beer and meat.

“Is the land for free? Do people just pay R700 for the snacks and get land?” asked Gcaba.

Ndlovu said: “Yes, this is the customary process in areas managed by amakhosi.”

However, Gcaba alleged that Ndlovu was selling land meant for community development for R10 000 to R12 000.

He said this is what made Nxumalo condemn him. Ndlovu disputed all of this and said it was a lie. Nxumalo never came to him to discuss land.

He said they only discussed other matters in the community. However, things took a sharp turn when he admitted that he had spoken to Nxumalo about land. The matter continues on Thursday (today).

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