‘Feud’ led to mur­der

CityPress - - Voices - PADDY HARPER paddy.harper@city­press.co.za

The KwaZulu-Natal pro­vin­cial sec­re­tary of the SA Demo­cratic Teach­ers’ Union (Sadtu), Mbuyiseni Mathonsi, is due to tes­tify in court about a vi­cious “feud” that al­legedly ended in mur­der. Mathonsi is listed as the fi­nal state wit­ness on a list of 29 set to be called by the pros­e­cu­tion in the trial of six men who al­legedly mur­dered Sadtu’s KwaZu­luNatal South Coast chair­per­son, Nathi Zondi, last May. Mfundi Sibiya, who is the direc­tor of the ed­u­ca­tion depart­ment’s Ugu re­gion, is ac­cused, along with five oth­ers, of mur­der­ing Zondi two weeks af­ter he’d been elected to the Sadtu po­si­tion.

The wit­ness list, along with a brief in­dict­ment, was sub­mit­ted to the Dur­ban High Court this week. Sibiya is a for­mer mem­ber of Sadtu’s KwaZulu-Natal ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee and an un­suc­cess­ful ANC par­lia­men­tary can­di­date.

In the sparse in­dict­ment, Sibiya and Zondi are de­scribedas“ri­vals, al­thoughthey­w­ere­both­mem­bers of Sadtu” in the Ugu district. The “feud” between them es­ca­lated to a point that “ne­ces­si­tated” the in­ter­ven­tion of Sadtu’s pro­vin­cial lead­er­ship, it says in the in­dict­ment.

De­spite this meet­ing, it’s al­leged Sibiya and South Coast prin­ci­pals Lin­dani Mkhize, Mh­lengi Luthuli and Xolani Myeza – all Sadtu mem­bers – “de­cided and con­spired to kill” Zondi.

The in­dict­ment re­veals that Sibiya al­legedly ap­proached for­mer prin­ci­pal and cur­rent school gov­ern­ing body chair­per­son Sandile Mz­izi to “ar­range a hit man”.

Luthuli, Myeza and Mkhize later al­legedly met with Mz­izi to pro­cure the shoot­ers – Lungisok­wakhe Makhoba and Andile Zulu – whom Mz­izi had re­cruited. In early May, Myeza al­legedly drove Mz­izi and the hit men to carry out a re­con­nais­sance on Zondi’s house in Um­lazi.

Then on May 9 last year, Makhoba and Zulu re­turned to the Um­lazi home in a car driven by a man iden­ti­fied only as “Njab­ulo”, and al­legedly shot and killed Zondi be­fore flee­ing.

Zondi had cam­paigned for his Sadtu po­si­tion on an an­ti­cor­rup­tion ticket. It was the ar­rest of Sibiya and his al­leged co-con­spir­a­tors that sparked City Press’ ex­ten­sive in­ves­ti­ga­tion into an al­leged jobs-for-cash racket run by Sadtu in KwaZulu-Natal.

Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Angie Mot­shekga has since ap­pointed a task team to in­ves­ti­gate the al­leged scam, which City Press later re­vealed ex­tended to other prov­inces.

Mathonsi, who has dis­tanced Sadtu from Sibiya and his co-ac­cused in me­dia brief­ings since the City Press ex­posé, said he had not been ap­proached by the pros­e­cu­tion about giv­ing ev­i­dence. “I wait to be ap­proached. So far, no one ap­proached me. I was not at the last court ses­sion,” he said this week.

What caused the “feud” between Zondi and Sibiya is not made clear in the in­dict­ment. The two men were once com­rades – Sibiya was among those who sup­ported Zondi af­ter his wife Ntutu was mur­dered in Mid Illovo, KwaZulu-Natal, in 2010.

Court A of the Dur­ban High Court was packed to ca­pac­ity on Tues­day when the six ap­peared. Rel­a­tives of both the de­ceased and the ac­cused, the for­mer wear­ing T-shirts em­bla­zoned with Zondi’s pic­ture, un­easily squeezed to­gether on the hard benches of the public gallery.

Makhoba and Zulu’s friends took up po­si­tions at the back of the gallery, keep­ing a low pro­file be­fore slip­ping out the mo­ment the two al­leged hit men were re­manded in cus­tody and sent back to the hold­ing cells.

The other four ac­cused are out on bail. The case was ad­journed un­til Septem­ber 5, when a trial date will be set.

PHOTO: KHAYA NG­WENYA

Mfundi Sibiya

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