Daily News

Gasa killer sen­tenced

Re­morse not gen­uine, says mag­is­trate

- RIZWANA SHEIK UMAR rizwana.umar@inl.co.za

ADURBAN waiter out­lined in chill­ing de­tail how he killed uMh­langa busi­ness­man Nh­lanhla Gasa af­ter spurn­ing his sex­ual ad­vances.

Mbulelo Arthur Nt­lauzana, 25, pleaded guilty to mur­der­ing Gasa and was sen­tenced yes­ter­day to 30 years’ im­pris­on­ment – de­spite a tear­ful apol­ogy that was re­jected by the Dur­ban Re­gional Court.

He said Gasa be­came up­set when he did not re­cip­ro­cate ad­vances by the busi­ness­man, whom he had met in June 2010 when he served him at a Steers restau­rant near the uMvoti toll plaza.

Nt­lauzana said Gasa gave him a R200 tip and wrote his cell­phone num­ber on a servi­ette.

His lawyer, Hy­centh Mlotshwa, said Gasa had tried to as­sault his client when he spurned his sex­ual ad­vances last month.

On March 26, the night of the mur­der, Gasa had be­come in­creas­ingly ag­gres­sive and pushed him, Nt­lauzana said, adding that he had re­sponded by stab­bing him in quick suc­ces­sion.

Post-mortem re­sults re­vealed that Gasa, whose body was found float­ing un­der the John Ross Bridge in the Tugela River last month, was stabbed 12 times – twice on the head, sev­eral times in the chest – pen­e­trat­ing his heart, lung and kid­ney – and in his back.

Re­call­ing how they had met, he said he had served Gasa at the restau­rant and they had made “small talk”. When Gasa told him he was a busi­ness­man, Nt­lauzana said he be­came ex­cited be­cause he had dreams of own­ing his own busi­ness.

Two days later, Nt­lauzana said he called Gasa and they met on the N2 free­way. Gasa took him to his home in uMh­langa and they talked for hours.

Nt­lauzana said Gasa had given him R400 that evening and R2 000 some months later, to reg­is­ter for a course they had spo­ken about. He had also given Nt­lauzana a cell­phone.

But there had been lit­tle con­tact be­tween the pair last year be­cause Gasa had been busy, he said.

When Nt­lauzana was hired at Steers in uMh­langa this year, he called Gasa.

“He was very happy to hear this. He asked me why I wasn’t call­ing him,” Nt­lauzana said. “I apol­o­gised and asked if he was still go­ing to help me, as he had promised.”

He said on the evening of the mur­der, he got a call from Gasa ask­ing to meet.

They talked in Gasa’s car out­side Nt­lauzana’s home in Groutville be­fore mak­ing their way to Gasa’s home where they watched TV and a had a few drinks, the court heard.

Nt­lauzana said while watch­ing TV Gasa placed his hand on his thigh. “He was brush­ing me and look­ing at me in a sex­ual man­ner. He was speak­ing softy, say­ing that he al­ways had feel­ings for me. He leaned to­ward me and kissed me on my right cheek.

“I told him that I’m straight. I have a girl­friend and chil­dren. He told me that no one had to know about this ar­range­ment. He said that he was will­ing to sup­port me fi­nan­cially.”

Nt­lauzana said he told Gasa that he only saw him as a men­tor and asked Gasa to take him home.

Re­spect

“I told him that I re­spect him and that I was em­bar­rassed by what he was do­ing to me.”

Nt­lauzana said Gasa grabbed a bot­tle of whiskey and at­tempted to hit him with it, but he man­aged to take the bot­tle away from him. The busi­ness­man then came at him with his fist.

He said he hit Gasa on the head with the bot­tle and the busi­ness­man threat­ened to kill him.

Nt­lauzana said he ran to the kitchen and took a knife from the kitchen counter and pointed it at Gasa to scare him.

There was a scuf­fle and Nt­lauzana stabbed Gasa.

When he re­alised Gasa was dead he thought of call­ing the po­lice but thought they might shoot him on ar­rival.

Nt­lauzana said he took a du­vet, from the master bed­room, wrapped the body and dragged it to a garage down­stairs be­fore plac­ing it in the boot of Gasa’s Jaguar XF.

Nt­lauzana said he drove to Groutville where he met three men – iden­ti­fied only as Piti, Lin­dani and Bon­jas.

Piti got into the car with him, and the oth­ers fol­lowed in a Toy­ota Con­dor.

He said he told Piti about body in the boot and asked for his help, but Piti was afraid. At the Tugela River, Nt­lauzana said the oth­ers left and he threw the body over the bridge and drove off.

He then doused the car in petrol and set it alight.

While he watched the car, he said it ex­ploded caus­ing him to be thrown a few me­tres away.

“When I woke up I was half naked and didn’t know what hap­pened to my T-shirt. I re­alised I got burned on my arm and face and walked home.”

Nt­lauzana said he con­fessed his crime to his mother and girl­friend be­fore leav­ing for the East­ern Cape the next day to seek med­i­cal at­ten­tion from a san­goma.

Nt­lauzana re­turned to Groutville a week later and on April 13 he was ar­rested.

Af­ter his state­ment was read out by his lawyer, Nt­lauzana elected to ad­dress Gasa’s fam­ily, seated in the front row of a packed court­room.

“To the fam­ily of the late Mr Gasa, I’d like to apol­o­gise,” he said, fac­ing Gasa’s ex-wife S’nenhlanhla and their four chil­dren – former beauty queen Mbali Ngqula, tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity Noni Gasa, and his sons, Andile and Mpumelelo.

“I know what I did was wrong and I hope and pray you’ll find it in your hearts to for­give me.”

Nt­lauzana de­scribed Gasa as a gen­tle and lov­ing per­son who al­ways wore a smile.

“What I’ve done haunts me ev­ery day, I’m sorry,” he said.

In ag­gra­va­tion of sen­tence, pros­e­cu­tor Ku­vesh­nie Pil­lay told Nt­lauzana he had been up­set with Gasa for not fund­ing his busi­ness.

“I was never up­set. I asked him about fi­nanc­ing me a few times and he said he’d see what he could do,” Nt­lauzana replied.

When Pil­lay asked Nt­lauzana why, in­stead of hand­ing him­self over, he took his fam­ily with him to the East­ern Cape, he said he had been badly hurt and wanted to be treated and spend time with his fam­ily be­fore he went to the po­lice.

Pass­ing sen­tence, mag­is­trate Anand Ma­haraj, who con­victed Nt­lauzana of mur­der, theft and mali- cious in­jury to prop­erty, said he was not con­vinced his re­morse was gen­uine.

He de­scribed Nt­lauzana as “con­niv­ing” and “ma­nip­u­la­tive” and found that he acted cal­lously and coldly in his at­tempt to “cover up” his crime.

“It is quite clear that the ac­cused (Nt­lauzana) tried to evade po­lice be­cause when you re­turned (from the East­ern Cape) you made no at­tempt to hand your­self over,” Ma­haraj said.

He said Nt­lauzana “had the pres­ence of mind” to de­stroy the ve­hi­cle.

The man­ner in which Gasa had been killed showed that the killer was filled with anger, ha­tred and rage, the mag­is­trate said.

Nt­lauzana was sen­tenced to 20 years for mur­der and 10 years for theft and ma­li­cious in­jury to prop­erty.

 ?? PIC­TURE: PURI DEVJEE ?? ANGER: Nh­lanhla Gasa’s ex-wife, S’nenhlanhla, and their daugh­ters, Mbali Ngqula and Noni Gasa, watch as Mbulelo Arthur Nt­lauzana, the man who killed the busi­ness­man, walks down to the cells.
PIC­TURE: PURI DEVJEE ANGER: Nh­lanhla Gasa’s ex-wife, S’nenhlanhla, and their daugh­ters, Mbali Ngqula and Noni Gasa, watch as Mbulelo Arthur Nt­lauzana, the man who killed the busi­ness­man, walks down to the cells.
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