- To appear before Judge Nkosinathi Maseko and trial to resume on Valentine’s Day
Mbabane – Valentine’s Day might well be D-Day for murder accused Sipho Shongwe in the ongoing trial of slain businessman Victor Gamedze.
There are a lot of expectations from Mbuso ‘Ncaza’ Nkosi who has struck a deal with the prosecution to testify against Shongwe, who has been charged with Gamedze’s murder.
Nkosi is the second South African suspect in Gamedze’s killing and who has been turned into an accomplice witness.
One of the major expectations is that Nkosi reveals who the four mysterious men that the assassins met prior to the execution of Victor Gamedze and what their role was. The other witnesses that have appeared before the crown so far such as Siphiwe ‘Tata’ Ngubane, left without revealing their identities.
Ngubane alleged that the quartet arrived at the guesthouse he, Nkosi and Sandile ‘ Dzodzo’ Luthango/ Zikalala were booked in on their arrival in Eswatini on January 11, 2018. The State witness, Ngubane, said he was alone at the time at the guesthouse when the four well- dressed men arrived and told him that the job had to be done without delay.
Advocate Laurence Hodes, who represents Sipho Shongwe, asked Ngubane the identities of the men, and he said he had seen them for the first time on that particular night in January. “Who had sent them?” the advocate asked. “They did not tell me. They just wanted the job to be done,” answered Ngubane. The advocate asked Ngubane to describe the men and he said he did not take time to scrutinise them. “What were they wearing?” the advocate asked. “They were dressed in suits and one of them wore just a shirt,” he responded. Ngubane also said he did not remember the colours of the men’s suits.
Shongwe is alleged to have offered Siphiwe ‘Tata’ Ngubane and Mbuso ‘Ncaza’ Nkosi drugs worth E2 million and E700 000 to refuse to testify against him. This was disclosed by Ngubane during the ongoing murder trial. According to Ngubane, who is an accomplice witness, Shongwe allegedly made the offer through Advocate Nthabiseng Mohomane. The advocate is alleged to have approached Ngubane and Nkosi at Diepkloof Prison where they were incarcerated.
After Gamedze’s murder on January 14, 2018, Ngubane was arrested on an extradition warrant and was found in possession of an unlicenced firearm, for which he was convicted. Nkosi, on the other hand, according to Ngubane, was arrested for shooting at police officers and violating his parole. Ngubane told the court that while they were in prison, Advocate Jacques Nel was their representative in the extradition matter until his mandate was terminated and Advocate William Sekgatja took over. He stated that during that period, he and Nkosi were willing to come to Eswatini to testify against Shongwe. He maintained that his decision to testify against Shongwe had not changed.
When asked by Advocate Michael Hellens who is representing the Crown if he was willing to testify against Shongwe, he said: “I was willing.” He pointed out that his stance never changed and added that Nkosi also wanted to testify against the accused. He said if anyone could say he no longer wanted to testify, that would be untrue. Ngubane told the court that he was willing to testify because he wanted closure on the matter. He said Advocate Nel advised him to stick to the truth. However, he said he had some conflict with Advocate Nel for about two weeks because he (Ngubane) wanted to come to Eswatini to testify, but he (Nel) was seemingly failing to deliver on his wish and his mandate was terminated in June or July 2019.
Ngubane told the court that, while he and Nkosi were in prison, they were visited by investigators and prosecutors from Eswatini since they had encountered problems in that Mohomane visited them and allegedly made the offer for drugs and money. He said Advocate Mohomane introduced herself and told them she had been instructed by people from Eswatini to represent them in their extradition matter. He said they had not engaged her as their representative. He pointed out that they did not expect her visit and that she came at a time when they were waiting for Advocate Sekgatja from Legal Aid. Nkosi is expected to give an account of his version on these allegations.
Exactly six days after Nkosi’s extradition was signed, there was a major development around Shongwe’s case when another potential witness – alleged underworld gang leader Farouk Meyer – was shot and killed as he and a friend were reversing the car they were driving in out of the driveway of a store in his home area of Eldorado Park in Johannesburg, South Africa.
In a statement purportedly recorded by Nkosi and read in court when Ngubane was testifying, Meyer is alleged to have given the two South Africans (Nkosi and Ngubane) E80 000 and they each got E40 000; then they each gave Meyer E5 000 as a token of appreciation for organising them the job to kill Gamedze.
But this evidence was refuted by Ngubane who told the court that Nkosi only gave him E10 000 which he said was for money for legal fees in the event he was arrested for Gamedze’s murder.
He said he was further given E4 000 by Nkosi while in prison, money Nkosi reportedly said was for buying cosmetics.
‘Ncaza’ must clarify in his evidence on what really transpired concerning the purported statement he recorded.
It is also alleged ‘Ncaza’ revealed the real reasons to Siphiwe after he persistently asked him why Gamedze was killed. All these allegations will be clarified before Judge Nkosinathi Maseko.
In the extradition papers that Nkosi signed, he is said to have conceded ‘to a finding that he is liable to the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland in terms of an application for his extradition made by the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland’.
The papers purport that Nkosi made a formal admission in terms of Section 220 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 read with the provisions of section 9(2) of the Extradition Act 67 of 1962.
The Section 220 reads: “An accused or his legal adviser may in criminal proceedings admit any fact placed in issue at such proceedings and any such admission shall be sufficient proof of such fact.” The Section 9(2) refers to ‘persons detained under warrant to be brought before magistrate for holding of an enquiry; and it states: “Subject to the provisions of this Act, the magistrate holding the enquiry shall procee
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