News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Thursday September 19th 2019

Noose tightens around nine accused of killing Khayelitsha lesbian

Sandiso Phaliso

The noose tightened around the nine men accused of killing Zoliswe Nkonyana for being a lesbian, after a state witness gave damning evidence to the Khayelitsha Regional Court, and magistrate Raadiya Whaten ruled that a confession produced by another accused was admissable before court. The confession has been subjected to a trial-within-a-trial this week after defence attorney Afzal Vallie who is appearing for accused number four Sicelo Mase, 21, argued that it had been obtained under duress.

And the testimoney of the state witness incriminated all nine accused.

Testifying outside of the public gaze in a private room into which only the court officials, reporters, the families of the accused and the deceased were allowed, she told how on Febuary 4, 2006, she had pleaded with accused Mbulelo Damba, 21, and Luyanda Londzi, 21, not to drop a large rock on the head of Zoliswa Nkonyan, who was then 19-years-old.

The witness – who cannot be named as her identity is protected by the court – told magistrate Raadiyah Wathen that on the day of the murder, she had been drinking in a shebeen together with the nine accused and three of her female friends.

She said when she and a friend were in the toilets, Nkonyana and a friend, Phindiswa Mangxala entered, whereupon she told them they should use the men’s toilets because they acted like men.

The witness said when she and her friend exited the toilets, Nkonyana and Mangxala were outside waiting for them.

She said Nkonyana made sexual advances toward her but slapped her when she refused to “go with her”.

She said immediately after the assault she and her friend went inside and called the nine accused.

“The one who came out first was Sicelo (Mase), then others came running and asked what Zoliswa (Nkonyana) had said.”

She said the nine men “started clapping her” wherupon she started running.

“They caught her next to a school.  Although I was far, I could see from a distance that they were beating her, making up and down movements…

“As we were running towards where Zoliswa was (being) beaten, seven (of the) accused ran and two of them were left behind (sic),” she told the court.

The two accused who remained were Damba and Londzi.

“They were trying to pick up a big rock from a yard nearby but I pleaded with Mbulelo…to stop what they were doing…and they listened to me and ran towards the seven other accused.”

She said Nkonyana was left lying in the gutter as her blood flowed down the street.

When state prosecutor Alfred Isaacs interjected, asking what she thought the nine accused were going to do to Nkonyana after she had called them, she said: “I thought they were going to just beat her up and leave her.”

She said after the incident the nine accused had gathered on a street corner a few metres away from the scene, where they had met a visibly drunk man, Zolani Phato, and stabbed him.

Phato testified before court earlier this week that he had been stabbed by a group of men, but said he was too drunk to identify them.

She said thereafter they went to a house in Khayelitsha’s Ilitha Park where they discussed what they had done.

She said accused number one, Lubabalo Ntlabathi, 20, told the group that he had stabbed Nkonyana and gave the knife to Mfundo Kulani, 19, to “finish her off”.

The witness said she had asked the nine accused if they knew the person they had just killed was a lesbian, to which they said responded in the negative.

All nine accused have pleaded not guilty, eight accused are being kept in custody while Luyanda Londzi is out on bail.

The other accused are: Themba Dlephu, 21; Zolile Kobese, 21; Anele Gwele, 24; Sabelo Yekiso, 21.

The case continues. – West Cape News

Tags: Khayelitsha

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