Men accused of killing petrol station owner Kidesh Ramjettan walk free
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Durban - TWO Johannesburg men who were accused of killing petrol station owner, Kidesh Ramjettan, have walked free.
Menziwa Afrika Mdakane, 35, and Zakhele Dubazane, 32, both of Dobsonville in Soweto, were acquitted in the Durban High Court on Monday.
They were also acquitted on charges of unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm and ammunition.
Mdakane and Dubazane were arrested and charged for killing Ramjettan outside his business in August 2018.
Ramjettan, a father of one, was talking to a customer in the parking lot of his Clairwood petrol station when a gunman walked up to him and shot him twice in the head. He died at the scene.
At the start of the trial last month, senior State advocate, Nadira Moosa tried to prove Mdakane and Dubazane were hired to kill Ramjettan.
Moosa relied on the testimony of Ayanda Shezi, who pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced in the Durban Magistrate’s Court to life imprisonment in November 2018.
She was also hoping to build her case around information from the three men’s cellphone records before and on the day of the killing.
However, in-an-about-turn, Shezi, claimed he was assaulted and made to confess. He further claimed the witness statement was written in English, a language he did not understand it. He claimed that as a result of the assault he became ill with diabetes.
When the court ruled against his statement being used, Moosa closed her case.
The two accused, represented by advocate Louis Barnard, had pleaded not guilty to all charges. Barnard made an application for the charges to be discharged due to a lack of evidence.
On Monday, Acting Judge Narini Hiralall said the State had failed to establish a case against both accused.
She said the police had failed to produce any evidence linking the men to the offences.
Hiralall said in the absence of Shezi’s evidence, the cellphone data did not assist the State’s case.
“In light of the fact that the State has failed to present a prima facie case against the two accused they are entitled to have the charges against them dismissed.”
Ramjettan’s family declined to comment.