121109 UNDER CLOUD: Albert Park ward councillor Vusi Khoza outside the Durban Magistrate’s Court yesterday, where he could face charges of murder relating to the deaths of two foreign nationals earlier this year.picture: terry haywood

Durban - Former Albert Park councillor Vusi Khoza, who was given a three-year suspended sentence on Monday for public violence and conspiracy to commit assault, could be angling for a return to politics.

Khoza had been charged with public violence and conspiracy to commit assault in connection with xenophobic attacks in Durban in 2009.

His co-accused, Sean Jacobs, who faced charges of attempted murder and malicious damage to property, was sentenced to five years imprisonment on each charge.

Two foreigners, Victor Zowa of Zimbabwe and Said Omari of Tanzania, were killed after a mob entered a building in the Durban CBD and began attacking people. Zimbabwean Eugene Madondo was severely injured.

Magistrate Fariedha Mohamed said, in passing sentence, that Khoza and Jacobs were “lucky” not to have been charged in connection with the two deaths.

She described the attack as xenophobic, saying the mob had trespassed into the building, looking for foreigners – not anyone else.

The charges against Jacobs were serious, but his personal circumstances were taken into account for the purposes of sentencing, Mohamed said.

Co-accused Patricia Ballanyne was acquitted two weeks ago while a fourth accused, Mzokuthoba Mngonyama, was acquitted in August.

In mitigation of sentence, Khoza testified that the amount of media coverage his case had received had caused him humiliation and stripped him of his dignity, especially when he was referred to as a “war general” in one newspaper report.

“I was paraded as a vigilante who goes around killing people,” he said.

“It [the media coverage] also impacted on my family and my children at school.”

Minutes after hearing his fate in the Durban Magistrate’s Court, Khoza told reporters he had merely “provisionally” resigned from his post as KwaZulu-Natal secretary of the National Freedom Party (NFP) two weeks ago after being found guilty.

He said he would now notify the NFP of his sentence, which was suspended for five years.

“It will now be up to my party to decide what to do with me,” said Khoza, who had joined the NFP after defecting from the ANC.

Despite failing in his bid on Monday for leave to appeal against his conviction, he said he planned to go to the highest court to clear his name. - Daily News