Durban — The accused in the murder trial of a teen activist shot and killed in 1989 has been identified by a witness as one of the four shooters.
“Matiri put his hand in his jacket and pulled out a gun and then I heard a gunshot. Kuben, who was with Matiri, did the same. He took out a gun from his jacket and also fired a shot. Sphelele fell to the ground, I ran and hid in nearby bushes. I stayed there hidden and saw them go close to Sphelele while he was lying on the ground. They continued shooting,” said Phumelele Miya, while leading evidence on Monday in the Durban Magistrate’s Court.
Gugulethu Wesley “Matiri” Madonsela, who is alleged by the State to have been affiliated with an A-Team that worked with the Natal Security Branch, is on trial for the alleged murder of 17-year-old activist Siphelele Nxumalo.
Miya, in her evidence, told the court that on February 2, 1989 Nxumalo had been her boyfriend and the two had been a couple since 1988.
Nxumalo died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds.
Miya told the court that the accused had been in the company of three others when Nxumalo was shot and killed in Chesterville.
“Besides Kuben, Matiri was with Msafu and E… All three of them were Sphelele’s friends,” said Miya.
She explained that she knew all four alleged shooters from Chesterville, where she was born and grew up.
“They stopped firing at him and went down the stairs in the direction they had come,” said Miya.
She told the court that before the shooting she had been at home and her cousin Sbhonda came home telling her Nxumalo was outside asking for her.
Miya estimated the time to between 8.30 to 9pm, adding that she and Nxumalo first stood in the passage off Chesterville’s Road 12 near her home.
She said they stood talking and after a while, Nxumalo asked her to walk him to the main road.
Miya said they continued talking on the main road and Nxumalo asked her to walk him down the stairs towards his home.
“They (the shooters) were coming from the bottom near Sphelele’s house coming up the stairs. They were following each other, walking fast, then when they were near us they slowed their pace. Sphelele pulled me and said I must stand next to him so they do not walk between us. They stopped, they did not pass. When they stopped Sphelele said ‘Yes, guys what are you saying’. They didn’t answer and Matiri put his hand in his jacket and pulled out a gun and then I heard a gunshot … When they were coming from the bottom, I didn’t recognise them but I did when they were close, about 2.5m away from me.”
She told the court that she never saw Madonsela again in the area after the shooting until years later.
Madonsela has pleaded not guilty to murder. The trial is expected to continue on Friday with Miya’s cross-examination by Madonsela’s defence, Bongani Cele.
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