Murder suspect shows court middle finger
BEING inside the room in which Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) student Zolile Khumalo was killed, proved too much for her relatives yesterday. Some had arrived before her body was taken to the mortuary on the fateful day.
Yesterday they held on to each other while another relative left the room at the Lonsdale residence in the Durban CBD, crying.
The visit was part of Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi’s inspection of MUT residences and he was told how the 21-year-old student’s body was found after she was shot three weeks ago.
She had apparently been sitting at a study desk near the door when her ex-boyfriend, Thabani Mzolo, allegedly forced his way into the first floor room and shot her twice.
Mzolo earlier appeared at the Durban Magistrate’s Court where State prosecutor Calvin Govender told the court that he had kicked Khumalo as she lay bleeding on the floor.
Mzolo is charged with Khumalo’s murder which the court heard was premeditated, as well as the possession of an illegal firearm.
Once his matter was adjourned to June 19, for a bail application, he showed the middle finger, much to the ire of magistrate Mohamed Motala.
At his first court appearance, he had made signs of pulling a trigger.
After court, Mkongi said Mzolo’s action made him very angry. He said showing the court the middle finger suggested that Mzolo was prepared to kill again and did not respect anyone.
“We are happy that the case was postponed, he is still going to (be in) the drain for the whole month, he deserves many years (in jail) because he is going to kill again,” said Mkongi.
At Lonsdale, he questioned the safety of students at the residence which does not have burglar bars on the windows. While the entrance has access control, Mzolo had allegedly signed into the residence using a false name.
Mkongi said the safety of the students was the responsibility of the university management. Their plans to tighten security were among the issues discussed at a meeting with MUT executives yesterday afternoon.
Following Khumalo’s murder, the university had undertaken to install metal detectors at their 19 external residences which house almost 6 000 students.
According to information from the university, Lonsdale housed the most, 661 students, and had six security guards during the day and six at night, while other residences have a maximum of three guards.
According to The Mercury’s sister newspaper, Isolezwe, two security guards were arrested at the residence after a raid by the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (Psira).
The 30 and 32-year-old men were taken to police by the authority as they were not registered to work as security guards.
Psira spokesperson, Talent Zwane, said they had been doing inspections at student residences since Khumalo’s murder. Their interest in Lonsdale was to find out how Mzolo had entered a guarded residence with a gun.
“We suspect that the people hired do not have the correct documents to be security guards,” Zwane said.
Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi stands with Viyase Dass, of Dass Buildings, which owns the Lonsdale residence, yesterday in the room where Mangosuthu University of Technology student Zolile Khumalo was killed.