State ready to prosecute in Unizulu case
THE State is undoubtedly keen to prosecute in the case of slain University of Zululand (Unizulu) professor, Gregory Kamwendo (53).
This was made evident in the Empangeni District Court last week when the two men accused of the murder of the Malawian national were denied bail by Magistrate BH Mtshali. The court briefly heard how Selby Zweli Nkuna (49), a former employee of Unizulu as well as the University of KwaZuluNatal, and his co accused, Oscar Mthiyane (50), a security guard from Dundee, plotted the murder of Kamwendo when investigating officer, Lt Col Thembinkosi Mlangeni of the Empangeni Branch Detective Unit took to the stand to give evidence.
Mlangeni told the court that cell phone data and vehicle tracking analysis linked both accused to the commission of the crime and that in the days leading up to the murder on 22 May - from as early as 7 May - Nkuna and Mthiyane were in regular communication. He said that on the day of the murder, according to cell phone data, Nkuna and Mthiyane were together from about 2pm. He further indicated that at about 4.28pm both accused were either together or in the same vicinity in eSikhaleni.
Mlangeni’s evidence highlighted that at 4:45pm both accused were at Unizulu and might have even been in the same vehicle. CCTV footage obtained from the university shows two people in white Jeep Grand Cherokee, a vehicle owned by Nkuna – however the identity of the occupants could not be determined. While Mlangeni did not go into full detail, one can only presume that Kamwendo was followed home from the university on the day of his murder, which occurred at about 5:10pm.
The ZO previously reported that Nkuna confessed to police that he had been the getaway driver on the day and that Mthiyane had hired an ‘inkabi’ (hit man) to pull the trigger. Nkuna is said to have contacted Mthiyane ‘to do a job’ and Mthiyane accepted the offer, informing Nkuna that he would need the name of the person he wanted dead and he would arrange it. Mlangeni noted that a sum of R10 000 was paid to Mthiyane and a further R25 000 paid to the inkabi. He informed the court that a confession from Nkuna was well appraised upon him being informed of his rights during his arrest. However while he did confess to having used a hit man, he did not disclose his name or where he is from.
Lost his job
Mthiyane’s warning statement is said not to have done so either. Mlangeni said Nkuna could not shake off the fact that he had lost his job at Unizulu in 2015 and that Kamwendo had had a hand to play in Unizulu’s overall decision. The ZO previously reported that Nkuna had been dismissed by Unizulu following an internal investigation in which he was alleged to have assaulted a student. Nkuna then took his case to the CCMA in May 2016 where Kamwendo testified against him. While the CCMA ruled in favour of Nkuna and ordered that he be reinstated at Unizulu and receive back pay of more than R160 000, it is believed he harboured a relentless grudge against Kamwendo.
Signs of Nkuna’s unforgiving hatred towards Kamwendo came to the fore when he allegedly threatened the Malawian national at Five Ways Spar in Empangeni in January last year, reportedly saying he would ensure that Kamwendo goes back to Malawi in a coffin. According to police records, Kamwendo filed evidence in an affidavit early last year at the Empangeni Police Station after he was allegedly threatened by Nkuna. Despite Mlangeni being cross examined by Nkuna’s attorney, Vusi Ndlovu, and told that the State had no direct evidence linking his client to the murder, Magistrate Mtshali gave reasons why bail should be refused in the matter, duly noting that Mlangeni had proved to the court that the State had strong evidence which linked both accused in the murder. The case was postponed to 5 February 2019 in order for a date to be approved for the matter to be heard in the High Court.
Nkuna and Mthiyane will remain in custody until their next appearance.
Oscar Mthiyane (50) is accused of hiring a hit man to kill Unizulu Professor Kamwendo