Sadtu mur­der case col­lapses

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

The fam­ily of mur­dered whis­tle-blower and KwaZu­luNatal south coast re­gional chair­per­son of teach­ers’ union Sadtu Nkosi­nathi Zondi is con­cerned that the mas­ter­minds be­hind his as­sas­si­na­tion will never be brought to jus­tice.

The four men who were al­legedly be­hind the shoot­ing of Zondi (46), a school prin­ci­pal at Dur­ban’s Um­lazi town­ship, in May 2013 – in­clud­ing Mfundi Sibiya, the KwaZulu-Na­tal depart­ment of education’s Ugu re­gional di­rec­tor – are free af­ter the state with­drew its case against them in De­cem­ber.

The state with­drew the charges the day the trial was about to be­gin af­ter the man on whom the state’s case de­pended, al­leged go­b­e­tween Sandile Mzizi, who had turned state wit­ness, re­fused to tes­tify against them.

On Fri­day, Mzizi, who al­legedly hired hit men Andile Zulu and Lungisani Makhoba to kill Zondi, ap­peared briefly in the KwaZulu-Na­tal High Court. The case was ad­journed un­til June 5 for trial.

Sibiya and Ugu school prin­ci­pals Lungani Mkhize, Xolani Myeza and Mh­lengi Luthuli were ar­rested for plan­ning Zondi’s killing af­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tors se­cured a state­ment from Mzizi im­pli­cat­ing them. Mzizi also fin­gered the al­leged shoot­ers, who, ac­cord­ing to the orig­i­nal in­dict­ment, were hired at Sibiya’s in­sis­tence and paid R12 000 for the hit.

The state has ev­i­dence from an ad­di­tional wit­ness that might be enough to con­vict Mzizi, Zulu and Makhoba, but pros­e­cu­tors were un­will­ing to dis­cuss the ef­fect of Mzizi’s turn­about on the case.

Zondi, the prin­ci­pal of Ny­onemhlophe Pri­mary School in Mt­walume, was mur­dered at his home in Um­lazi two weeks af­ter be­ing elected chair­per­son of Sadtu’s Ugu re­gion. Ac­cord­ing to the ini­tial in­dict­ment, this lead­er­ship con­test cost him his life.

His death lifted the lid on a jobs-for­cash scam run by the union and depart­ment of­fi­cials.

Sibiya and his fel­low ac­cused have re­turned to work. On Fri­day, Zondi’s brother Sim­phiwe, who works for the depart­ment of education in Ugu, said: “We are very frus­trated. It is very hard go­ing to work ev­ery day and see­ing the peo­ple who were in court. There were no rea­sons given for why the state with­drew. We only heard in court that the case was be­ing with­drawn. Only af­ter­wards did we hear that he had re­fused to give ev­i­dence.”

Sim­phiwe said he was “very con­cerned” that those who planned his brother’s killing would never be brought to jus­tice.

Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity spokesper­son Natasha Kara said charges had been with­drawn against Sibiya, Myeza, Luthuli and Mkhize “due to in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence”.

Nkosi­nathi Zondi

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