Thabani Mzolo is accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend Picture: SIBUSISO NDLOVU

Durban - The State intends to call 20 witnesses to testify against Thabani Mzolo, who is accused of killing student Zolile Khumalo.

This is according to the indictment read out at the Durban Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, where Khumalo, 24, appeared for the murder of his ex-girlfriend.

Mzolo was arrested after allegedly shooting Khumalo multiple times in her room at an off-campus Mangosuthu University of Technology residence in May.

Last month, Mzolo's attorney Charl Claassen, told The Mercury that his client had handed him written instructions to “bring to the public’s knowledge, especially to the deceased’s family, that he’ll be pleading guilty to the murder of Zolile Khumalo”.

Khumalo, 21, was a first-year quantity surveying student at the MUT where Mzolo had also been registered until last year.

At his court appearance last month, Mzolo abandoned bail and was remanded in custody at Westville Prison. He confirmed to the court that he still did not wish to apply for bail.

Mzolo stood in the dock learning forward as the indictment was read and interpreted. When asked if he understood, he nodded in agreement.

In court were Khumalo's family, who on Saturday was at an unveiling of a memorial fountain for the slain student at the university's Umlazi campus.

There was no mention in court of Mzolo's intention to plead guilty as communicated in a statement by Claassen last month. Claassen said his client wished to convey that the motivation behind his decision was to provide the Khumalo family with some sort of closure. 

“He appreciates the pain and anguish they are going through and hopes they can now know the truth as opposed to waiting for what could be months before he is indicted and called upon to formally plead to the charge,” said Claassen.

He said he was also instructed that this be made public now, but Mzolo would “divulge further information surrounding the murder to bring what he hopes to be some sense and calm to the deceased’s family and the public” at a later stage.

Charl Claassen, Thabani Mzolo's attorney explains why his client has not entered his guilty plea. 

The Mercury