All that’s left of #ZolileKhumalo in Room 101 at her Lonsdale residence in Durban is the mattress she slept on, and the tiny desk she studied at.
Everything else owned by the young woman and her roommate, of what may have been a colorful room for the Mangosuthu University of Technology students, has been cleared. The sunlight is streaming in, but the memory of how Khumalo was murdered makes the room feel dark and cold.
On May 3, she was shot dead in her room, allegedly by her ex-boyfriend, Thabani Mzolo.
At the Durban Magistrates Court on Thursday, State prosecutor, Calvin Govender, revealed that Mzolo allegedly shot Khumalo twice with an illegal firearm, and then kicked her limp body. He allegedly did this in the same room where Khumalo dreamt of relieving her family in eShowe from poverty by becoming a quantity surveyor.
The small room with red curtains has been wiped from top to bottom, leaving no stain behind on the white cupboards or the white tiles. On Thursday, two weeks after her murder, the deputy minister of police, Bongani Mkongi stood in the small room, a crime scene, demanding answers about the building’s security.
“Have you ever been a student?” Mkongi demanded answers from the Lonsdale building director, Viyase Dass.
“Why did you apply to the institution (to host students) when you do not have proper security? Don’t chase money,” he sternly warned Dass.
MUT Vice-chancellor earlier explained that the responsibility of security at off-campus residences lay with the building owner.
Only a turnstile at the Lonsdale ground floor would prevent access to the building which was under renovation. Windows were bare without burglar guards, and all that would help students study in the room is a tiny board to use as a desk.
Despite the criticism, Dass called the building “the best student accommodation in Durban.”
But outside, Mkongi was furious after learning that almost 600 MUT students who stayed at the residences were National Student Financial Aid Scheme beneficiaries.
He said: “The accused would have easily gained access to this building, it’s an open space. There is no security, and only one elevator with no evacuation plans. If this building burns we will lose all these students. There is a problem with this building, the institution must review where we house our students.”
Mzolo’s arrest and subsequent court appearances have been decorated by fervent demonstrations by MUT students, and support lent by politicians to the #JusticeForZolile campaign.
JUST IN: #ThabaniMzolo, the man accused of murdering university student #ZolileKhumalo has been remanded in custody for a bail application on June 19. Mzolo was Khumalo's ex-boyfriend.
Video: @Karinda_J pic.twitter.com/0ExhCGai83
The case has been remanded to June 19 for Mzolo’s bail application.
Khumalo was laid to rest on Saturday. Her family members were at the Lonsdale residence, and upon seeing the room in which she was killed, hugged each other and cried.
Khumalo's father, Comfort said his daughter never deserved to die the way she had.