Sadtu murder case collapses
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 We only heard in court that the case was being withdrawn.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National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Natasha Kara said charges had been withdrawn against Sibiya, Myeza, Luthuli and Mkhize “due to insufficient evidence”.