TWO important state witnesses who were due to testify against a Gugulethu couple accused of hiring a hitman and masterminding the killing of two people in 2009, have been gunned down this year.
Testifying in the Cape High Court on Thursday last week investigating officer Mbona Kwinana told Judge Andries Smit that two “vital witnesses died” in suspicious circumstances.
Phumlani Nyengule and Maphelo Nopote had died from gunshot wounds in January and July respectively.
However, Kwinana did not elaborate on how Nyengule and Nopote were connected to the case in which Vuyisile and Yalezwa Ndzumeka stand accused of hiring co-accused Luvo Nketho to gun down Bongani Dingana in June 2009, and Sthembele Matiso High principal Nomziwoxolo Ndziba in August 2009.
State prosecutor Denyse Greyling contends that the Ndzumeka’s ordered Dingana’s death after they fraudulently added themselves as beneficiaries to a life insurance policy taken out in his name, and killed Ndziba after she began probing financial irregularities at the school where Vuyisile worked as a financial officer.
Kwinana, who is the state’s final witness, said he feared for witnesses’ safety.
Following the death of Nyengule and then Nopote, he had “advised other witnesses to go to a place of hiding” prior to testifying in court.
“I suggested that they leave the Western Cape,” he said.
He said some witnesses had taken his advice and gone to the Eastern Cape until they were called to take the stand.
The state yesterday closed its case against the three accused and closing arguments are expected to be heard in the Cape High Court on Monday. — Sandiso Phaliso