Nhlanhla Gasa
Nhlanhla Gasa

Gasa: Gay lover held

By NONDUMISO MBUYAZI Time of article published Apr 20, 2013

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Durban - The Kwadukuza (Stanger) man charged with murdering Durban businessman, Nhlanhla Gasa, is next week expected to confess to killing the millionaire, revealing that the two were lovers.

According to well-placed sources Gasa, 63, a father of four – among them TV personality Noni Gasa and Miss South Africa 1997 Mbali Gasa Ngqula – had a romantic relationship with the 25-year-old man which became tempestuous.

The two, according to Gasa’s business associates, relatives and some Durban gay men, had met at an Umhlanga bar where the young man was a barman.

Gasa and the man, a father of three who has been described as “a possessive and jealous lover”, hit it off and began a relationship soon after.

Gasa is said to have given the young man one of his cars to use and often gave him cash before the relationship turned sour.

“His recent lover was very young, jealous and possessive,” said a business associate.

Asked about the gay rumours last night, family spokesman Louis Seeco said the family was aware of them.

“It would have been very difficult for his children to ask their father about these rumours,” he said.

“In Zulu tradition, you wouldn’t dare ask and he had never told his family that he was gay.”

He said the family would issue a “full” statement next week.

Gasa, an associate of President Jacob Zuma who held 19 directorships, was fatally stabbed in his Umhlanga home late last month.

Police found a blood trail leading from the house to the garage, suggesting Gasa was dragged there after he was murdered. There were no signs of forced entry.

His body was found with multiple stab wounds, floating in the Tugela River near KwaDukuza. His burnt-out Jaguar was found nearby.

After an extensive three-week investigation, the young man was arrested in Groutville this week after hiding in the Eastern Cape.

According to a police source, Gasa’s estranged wife, Sinenhlanhla, was initially a suspect, but this changed when the arrested man’s friend – who had seen him dump a bloodied body into the river – informed police.

The friend is said to have turned state witness.

Provincial police spokesman Colonel Vincent Mdunge, who described the case as “sensitive”, said the accused man, who appeared in court this week on Tuesday, had not made a confession.

“Therefore the motive for the murder is still unknown,” he said, adding the man was now consulting with his lawyer.

He appeared briefly in the Durban Magistrate’s Court and remains in custody at the Durban North police cells after his case was postponed to next week. He will appear on Tuesday.

He faces charges of premeditated murder, malicious damage to property and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

During his court appearance, he told the court that he did not have his own attorney and would like to use the services of legal aid.

His state-provided attorney, Hycenth Mlotshwa, asked magistrate Anand Maharaj for a postponement in order to further consult with his client.

National Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman, Natasha Ramkis-son, has said while there had been hearsay reports that the accused may confess, all legal processes would be followed.

This included his right to be granted a legal representative.

Gasa’s associates have said that during the short-lived relationship, the businessman had given the man one of his cars.

One of his mother’s friends said the young man had been seen driving the car in the Groutville area but the family didn’t think much of it, assuming it belonged to one of his friends.

A long-time business associate of Gasa said he was “openly gay” hence his separation from Sinenhlanhla.

Another business associate said: “I was acquainted with him and yes he was openly gay. It was not a secret.”

Describing him as a giving, humble and ethical businessman the associate said it was an open secret that Gasa had sexual relationships with young men, particularly students.

“He would give them loads of money,” she said. “Most people who knew him were aware of his sexual preferences, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was a generous and humble man.”

A Durban gay socialite said there is a “large” community of gay married men who are known as “after nine”.

The term is coined from the SABC TV mini-series that followed the exploits of black gay men in modern society.

It delved into the secret underworld of a black gay businessman and his inner struggles to find a way to deal with the torment of revealing his true sexuality to his wife and family.

The socialite said while Gasa had not divulged his sexual preferences to the world, he also didn’t hide it, like other wealthy Durban men who went to great lengths to portray themselves as staunch traditionalists who would never engage in such relationships.

Seeco said Gasa’s two sons had attended this week’s court proceedings. “The sons said they had never seen the suspect before,” he said, emphasising that Gasa’s four children loved their father unconditionally, despite the gay rumours.

Independent on Saturday

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