Sergeant wants evidence of ‘unknown’ witness to be used in horror murder trial

Outisde the Durban High Court. Picture: TUMI PAKKIES/ Independent Newspapers

Outisde the Durban High Court. Picture: TUMI PAKKIES/ Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 19, 2024


Durban — An investigating officer has asked the Durban High Court to use the statement of an eyewitness as part of evidence in a triple murder as the witness is nowhere to be found.

The officer, a sergeant who will not be named for safety reasons, told the court the witness went into hiding after the brutal murder of his friends who were burnt alive inside a car in January 2022 at eNkanini informal settlement in Cato Manor, Durban.

The victims were Phumlani Tshekele, Numkile Mfenqe and Refilwe Mokoena.

Charged with their murders and currently on trial are Mmiseli (Jomo) Khondlo, 41, Vusumuzi Mazula, 46, Thandekile Penelope Sithuntsa, 37, Siphenathi Zoko, 28, Mfanafuthi Muzi Masikhana, 37, and Scelo Thusi, 39.

The State alleges the six accused forced the victims into Tshekele’s VW Golf, pushed it to the corner of Blinkbonnie and Wiggins roads and set it alight with the victims alive inside. Their dwellings were also set alight.

Moreover, the sergeant said he did not know where the witness was. He said the last time they spoke the witness said he was in Gauteng but did not specify where.

“He has never said anything about family members living in Gauteng.”

The sergeant testified he started to look for the witness in April this year and sent the crime intelligence unit to assist but they were unsuccessful.

Judge Chetty asked if the sergeant wanted the statement to be submitted as evidence because they could not locate the witness.

“Yes,” replied the sergeant.

On the day of the incident, the State alleges that there was a meeting of residents at eNkanini where the accused and some community members expressed their anger to the victims. Other people were armed with sticks, bush knives and makeshift weapons.

It is alleged that the victims had been terrorising the community, taking people’s houses by force and selling them to others.

Sunday Tribune