Durban — Evidence that there was enough lighting for an eyewitness to be able to identify the two friends who allegedly shot and killed a political activist was corroborated by the murdered teen’s mom.
On Tuesday, the trial into the 1989 murder of an activist with the United Democratic Front (UDF), which was affiliated with the African National Congress (ANC) continued in the Durban Magistrate’s Court.
Previous evidence from an eyewitness who was with 17-year-old Siphelele Nxumalo when he was allegedly shot was that there was sufficient lighting where they were standing for her to recognise that the shooters were Nxumalo’s friends and one of them was the accused on trial.
Gugulethu Wesley 'Matiri' Madonsela alleged by the State to have been affiliated with an A-Team that worked with the Natal Security Branch is accused of Nxumalo’s alleged murder.
After the State had rested its case in the matter it indicated that it had three witnesses that it had not called and the defence could use these witnesses, the three included Nxumalo’s mother as well as his uncle Sipho Nxumalo.
Madonsela’s attorney Bongani Cele said that the defence would be relying on a single witness in its case adding that the accused would not be taking the stand. Nxumalo’s mother Phindile Edna Nxumalo leading evidence for the defence corroborated the evidence by her son’s girlfriend, Phumelele Miya, when it came to the scene being well-illuminated.
“It’s well lit, there’s a tall street light, and the neighbours’ homes have lights outside. It’s well-illuminated where he (Nxumalo) was shot, it is only dark when you get near our home,” said the mother.
Miya’s evidence was that she and Nxumalo were approached by four males, all friends of Nxumalo, they did not say anything but two of them drew firearms and shot at her boyfriend, she ran to hide and watched as the two shooters continued firing as Nxumalo lay on the ground and when they finished they all ran down the stairs.
Nxumalo’s mother said that on that night she had been asleep and was woken by gunshots ringing close to her home.
“I got up and pulled the curtain aside a little in the bedroom so that I could peek and I saw four people running down the stairs near our home… Even though I could not see their faces because they were running down the stairs and it was dark, I saw four figures,” she told the court.
Cele had previously asked a State witness who was the police officer handling the case in 1989 to read a specific section of Phindile’s statement taken back then where she said she could not see who the four figures belonged to because it was raining heavily.
On the stand, Phindile told the court that while it was raining that night it was on and off.
She told the court it would be difficult for her to say whether it was raining or not at the time when she saw the four figures run down the stairs as the incident happened such a long time ago. She described to the court how another one of her son’s friends that night reported to her that he had been shot.
Phindile telephoned the Nxumalo household in the township’s road 1 and when she arrived she found her wounded son, Sipho had also arrived driving a taxi to assist her. “He was wounded on the head (near the temple above the ear) and on the left abdomen, those are the ones I remember clearly,” said Phindile.
The defence rested its case after Phindile's evidence on Tuesday. Both the State and defence will address the court on the merits of the case.
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