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Shock as UKZN student arrested for roommate's death

University of KwaZulu-Natal Picture: Se-Anne Rall

University of KwaZulu-Natal Picture: Se-Anne Rall

Published Oct 12, 2019


Durban - Police have cautioned against circulating a video of a purported confession being made following the death and discovery of a third year student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

This follows the arrest of a UKZN student who allegedly murdered his roommate and burnt his body. Police made the discovery on Friday. 

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A video of a purported confession had gone viral after the burnt remains were discovered in bush at the university's Westville campus.

Third year BCom student Samkelo Zondi's burnt body was found in a bush near a construction site of new residences being built, after he had been reported missing by his girlfriend on Thursday.

The video is secretly filmed at the campus security offices, shortly after the suspect had been apprehended.

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Provincial police spokesperson, Brigadier Jay Naicker, said the suspect faced a murder charge. He said the deceased's girlfriend had reported him missing on Thursday and confirmed the suspect was Zondi's roommate.

“At this stage we are interviewing witnesses to determine what happened. What we can tell you is that they are quite shocked,” he said.

Police believe that the student might have been murdered before his body was set alight. Naicker said the victim could have been lured to the bushes making it easy for the suspect to kill him.

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“But all of that will be uncovered once they have taken him through the process of pointing out the crime scene. In light of the fact that the body was severely burnt, we will rely on the pathologist’s report,” said Naicker.

Naicker said the purported video confession could jeopardise the case against the suspect and anyone found distributing it, could be charged for defeating the ends of justice.

In the video, security officials question the suspect, asking him if he allegedly killed Zondi.

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The purported confession shows a man confessing that the student's body was set alight using paraffin. In the video, Zondi is referred to as "umkhovi" - which loosely means he had a bad omen.

On campus, students claimed the suspect had said Zondi had bewitched him. The suspect had apparently learnt from a traditional healer of being allegedly bewitched. 

The suspect was apprehended by security officers when he emerged from a burning bush at the university. 

Final year BCom student Sifiso Nene expressed shock at the incident and said the roommates played soccer together and were close friends. 

“They were friends that’s what’s shocking for me. It’s so painful that one can not trust anyone. I’m shocked,” said Nene.

UKZN spokesperson Ashton Bodrick said: “We cannot continue to lose young innocent lives in this manner. Young people are supposed to focus and complete their studies and contribute to making South Africa a better place,” said Bodrick.


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