DURBAN - TWO senior KwaZulu-Natal police officers were in the accused box on Monday in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court, on trial for allegedly paying and accepting a R120 000 bribe to fudge evidence in an investigation into the death of an ANC branch leader.
Lieutenant-Colonel Khephu Ndlovu, who was based at Bhekithemba police station in uMlazi, and Captain Bonginkosi Dlamini, who was attached to a special unit tasked to investigate political killings, face charges of bribery and defeating the ends of justice.
They have pleaded not guilty. The trial is set down for the week.
Ndlovu and Dlamini appeared along aside their three co-accused – induna Felokwakhe Ndlovu, his wife, Sibongile Ndlovu, and their son, Lindokuhle Ndlovu.
Sibongile Ndlovu, Khephu Ndlovu and Dlamini were arrested in July last year while Felokwakhe Ndlovu and his son, Lindokuhle, were arrested after the murder of ANC branch leader Thulani Nxumalo in 2018.
Nxumalo was gunned down at KwaNdengezi near Pinetown in September 2018 after returning from an ANC meeting.
Before his murder, Nxumalo had complained about someone constantly calling him during the meeting.
Nxumalo’s murder was referred to KwaZulu-Natal’s political task team unit, which was established by President Cyril Ramaphosa after the spate of political murders in the province.
The State alleges that Lieutenant-Colonel Khephu Ndlovu with Sibongile Ndlovu arranged to pay Dlamini R120 000 to fudge evidence in Nxumalo’s murder case where Felokwakhe Ndlovu and his son were the murder accused.
After his arrest for accepting the bribe, Dlamini allegedly implicated Sibongile Ndlovu and Khephu Ndlovu as the people who had bribed him to weaken the case.
It is alleged that Dlamini was going to influence a State witness to alter his evidence, weakening the case and therefore leading to the accused being found not guilty.
On Monday, the State called its section 204 witness, Siphephelo Ndlovu, whose testimony was about the firearm that was linked to Nxumalo’s murder through ballistics.
When leading evidence, Siphephelo Ndlovu, Lindokuhle’s friend, said Lindokuhle asked him to hide the firearm in his home after his father (the induna) was arrested.
“It had been a while noticing that something was troubling (Lindokuhle), so as a person I regarded as my friend and a brother, I pleaded with him to tell me what was worrying him. He eventually told me his father had been arrested but had left his firearm with him, so he feared police would come back and find him in possession of an unlicensed gun. He then asked me to keep the firearm at my home, which I did,” testified Siphephelo Ndlovu.
Khephu Ndlovu, who is out on bail, was represented by advocate Andrew Matlamela. Advocate Simphiwe Mlotshwa represented Dlamini. Felokwakhe, Sibongile and Dlamini have been in custody since their arrest after they were denied bail. Lindokuhle is out on bail.
The trial continues.
Felokwakhe and other accused in the murder matter appeared in Pietermaritzburg on Friday and the case was adjourned until October 4.