3 unknown people killed my colleague'
MBABANE – The murder trial of the Deccapol Prim-ary School teacher has taken a new twist.
Suspected teacher killer Zwelithini Tsabedze has claimed that his deceased colleague Ntokozo Maseko was killed by three unknown people on the night of October 26, 2011.
This was revealed at the High Court yesterday before Judge Bheki Maphalala, who presided over the trial.
Tsabedze yesterday pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, but admitted that the deceased died as a result of a gunshot wound inflicted on the forehead.
He pleaded guilty to the charges relating to the possession of a firearm and a live round of ammunition, respectively.
The school’s nightwatchman Mandla Mavuso, a Crown witness, told the High Court that after the shooting incident Tsabedze told him and others that Maseko was shot by three unknown people while they were returning from a forest.
He alleged that Tsabedze had said he was accompanying Maseko back from the bushes, where he had gone to relieve himself since the school had run out of water.
Mavuso alleged that while at his workstation, he heard some people talking outside the gate.
He claimed that the people were walking next to the school gate, but he could not hear what they were saying because they were speaking in low tones.
"After they had passed the gate, I heard a female voice shouting ‘what has happened?’ followed by a loud bang.
"After that there was another sound, which seemed like a person jumping over the fence and what came to my mind was that someone wanted to rob the school," he said.
Tsabedze was represented by Mduduzi Mabila while Macebo Nxumalo appeared on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Mavuso alleged that he phoned the school chairman to inform him of his suspicions and later received a telephone call from Tsabedze, who informed him that Maseko had been injured and needed to be taken hospital.
He told the court that at the scene he found the deceased’s body lying in a pool of blood.
He claimed that Tsabedze had also called a resident, Philemon Ngcamphalala, to take the deceased to hospital, but he refused after arriving at the scene, arguing that doing so would be tampering with evidence since Maseko seemed already dead.
"Tsabedze said when they were returning from the forest they saw three people following them and suddenly there was a loud bang.
"He said he fell down and woke up to run away to the school out of shock since he had seen that Maseko had been shot," said the guard.
Initially, and when he moved his bail application, Tsabedze had said he had shot the deceased in a scuffle. He said when he left the house with Maseko, it coincided with his decision to go and fetch his girlfriend Phatsisiwe Ngcamphalala.
He had also said they had separated at the school gate and when he returned with Ngcamphalala, they noticed a man standing in the darkness along the school fence.
This is also contained in the statement which Ngcamphalala made to the police.
He stated that he tried calling the school’s nightwatchman, thinking that the lone figure in the darkness was him, but he did not pick up his phone.
He said when they had passed the person, he followed them and, upon catching up, there was a scuf- fle.
He stated that he placed his girlfriend behind him with his firearm already cocked and he kicked the stranger in the stomach but he would not budge.
He said the gun’s trigger was accidentally pulled during the scuffle and he ran away.
When he got to the flat he shared with Maseko, he found that he was not there and that was when he suspected that the shot person was his housemate.
This was confirmed when he went to view the body with a torch, he said in his bail application.
The matter continues.
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