South Africa News

Convicted cop killer drops sentence & conviction appeal

The defence for one of the men convicted and sentenced in relation to the murder of an off-duty Durban Public Order Policing officer withdrew an appeal on sentence and conviction in the Durban High Court.

Officer Zolani Leadus Zuma was first shot, stuffed into refuse bags, and then loaded into the boot of his car. It was then set alight at the height of the July 2021 unrest.

Mzikayifani “Kayelihle” Ndebele was sentenced to four years for the attempted murder of the policeman while his co-accused, Sibusiso Ndlela, was handed 10 years for the murder and a further four years’ imprisonment for Zuma’s kidnapping.

Ndebele was 17 at the time of the murder while Ndlela was 19 years old.

Judge Carol Sibiya ordered that Ndlela’s sentence run concurrently. After the two were sentenced, Ndlela’s defence, J Hariram, indicated that she had been instructed to appeal both the sentence and conviction.

On Friday, Ndlela was not brought to court. Hariram said she had intended to get further instructions from her client; however, this was not possible since he had not been brought from Westville Prison.

Given that the accused was not present in court, Judge Sibiya ordered that the appeal be provisionally withdrawn.

“You are provisionally granted leave to withdraw the application for appeal. You will be given until November 17 to advise the court if the provisional withdrawal should stand and be made final,” said Judge Sibiya.

Evidence that was heard during the trial was that on the night of July 13, Zuma had been driving in his blue VW Polo dressed in civilian clothes when he came across Ndebele and the assailants, who looted goods from looters in a car that Afrika Mthembu was driving.

Zuma chased after Mthembu’s Kia truck in his Polo and fired shots while in pursuit. He was following them to a house in Tshelimnyama.

Once at the house, the officer confronted Mthembu and the assailants, producing his state firearm. Ndebele dispossessed Zuma of his gun and allegedly shot him. In the process, a shot hit his uncle Mthembu in the knee.

Zuma’s car was found burnt the following day, and his charred body was discovered in the boot.

Two men were named as major role-players in Zuma’s murder during the trial but have never been arrested.

A man named Duve and Lungelo, Mthembu’s son allegedly came up with the plan to put Zuma in the boot of his car and torch it. The two were said to have been part of the execution of this plan.

Ndlela was there when Zuma was stuffed into his boot and travelled with Duve and Lungelo to where Zuma’s car was set alight but was standing at a distance when this happened and didn’t see who torched the car.

Mthembu, who was a section 204 witness in the trial, was discharged by Judge Sibiya when she sentenced Ndebele and Ndlela.

-Daily News

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