State ready to pros­e­cute in Unizulu case

Zululand Observer - Monday - - NEWS - Or­rin Singh

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.

Threat­ened

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.

Face­bok/Os­carMthiyane

Os­car Mthiyane (50) is ac­cused of hiring a hit man to kill Unizulu Pro­fes­sor Kamwendo

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