Long-awaited Nhlabane murder trial underway

NHLABANE community members are hoping for justice as the six men accused of murdering one of their own in 2014 are finally standing trial.

The trial is underway at Mtunzini High Court and, with a witness list totalling 23, is thought to go beyond tomorrow’s (Friday) scheduled conclusion date.

The case dates back to October 2014 when a missing person’s case was opened after Mboniseni Welcome Menyuka Gumede went missing in broad daylight.

His totally decomposed body was later found in a shallow grave in a bushy area near Nhlabane Beach.

Phumlani Mthiyani (40), Kingdom Mthiyani (34), Bongani Mbuyazi (42), Nhlakanipho Zikhali (26), Sibusiso Mbuyazi (29) and Mthandeni Mbuyazi (38) are charged with kidnapping and murder.

They are accused of unlawfully forcing Gumede into Bongani Mbuyazi’s vehicle and driving him to Mbuyazi’s home.

This, after first accused Phumlani Mthiyani accused Gumede of having stolen from his store, Phumlani Store in KwaMbonambi.

In an act of vengeance, Phumlani Mthiyani rallied his co-accused on hearing Gumede was again at his store.

After driving him to Bongani Mbuyazi’s home, the six ganged up on Gumede, beating him with an assortment of weapons, including sticks.

According to the indictment, on realising they had killed Gumede, the six loaded his body into Kingdom Mthiyani’s vehicle and drove it to a bushy area near the beach where they buried it.

In the two weeks it has been running, the drawn out murder trial has heard only the prosecution’s witnesses testimonies which, on Monday, focused on an alleged post-arrest assault of Nhlakanipho Zikhali.

Police officers were called to the stand to give a step-by-step account of their time with him on 24 October 2014 when they drove him to the area the body was found.

When the ZO first reported on the matter, mysterious disappearances and murders of numerous other people in the same area was brought to our attention.

The list dated back to 2008 and all had allegedly been in contact with the accused immediately prior to their disappearance or murders.

One child who escaped was told by the accused they would make soup from his/her body.

The child’s family reportedly refused a R20 000 bribe and reported the matter to the police.

One other child, Amahle Mbuyazi, was not so fortunate as he went missing in December 2014 shortly after the accused were released on bail.

Neither he nor his remains have been found.

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  AUTHOR
Tamlyn Jolly
Journalist

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