Families at odds in axe ‘killer’ case
A heated exchange took place at the Durban High Court between family members of “axe man” Phindile Joseph Ntshongwana and the family of those Ntshongwana is accused of killing.
This followed an instruction to the court orderly to assist in removing members of the public yesterday so that the rape complainant in the case could testify behind closed doors.
The case continues.
Ntshongwana faces four counts of murder, two of attempted murder, one of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, as well as a rape and kidnapping charges.
When the time came for members of the public to leave the courtroom, family members of the victims wanted three men who have been identified as the Ntshongwanas’ bodyguards to be removed as well.
A heated exchange followed, with Ntshongwana’s mother saying her bodyguards didn’t need to be “chucked out like dogs”.
Ntshongwana’s attorney, Themba Mjoli, said Ntshongwana needed the emotional support of his parents, taking into consideration his mental state.
On Monday, a doctor’s report was read out in court stating Ntshongwana suffered from a delusional disorder.
However, Judge Irfaan Khalil ruled that a rape complainant had the right to testify in camera, adding that the lack of support of Ntshongwana’s parents would not infringe on his right to a fair trial since his lawyer was there representing him.
Ntshongwana’s mother has been very visible in the case, with the defense lawyer regularly seen taking instructions from her.
Earlier yesterday, a second witness identified the former Blue Bulls player as a killer.
The murder and attempted murder charges in the case are related to alleged grisly axe killings in 2011 in different suburbs of Durban. The victims’ head were chopped off.
Giving evidence yesterday, Nombuso Hadebe told the court that she was woken up by noise that sounded like a hard object hammering at something in Lamontville around 11pm on March 22 2011.
Peeping through the curtains, she saw a man with his back to her, chopping at something.
Hadebe, who was heavily pregnant at the time, continued to watch as “the chopper would only stop to place whatever he was hacking in an orange bag”.
After a while, the man left, taking the orange bag with him, only to return later with a white bag after which more chopping was done.
Hadebe said she was able to make out the man’s face as he returned to the scene. She identified him as Ntshongwana.
While she had not known at the time what he had been chopping, “she had her suspicions”.
Hadebe was able to confirm in the morning that it had indeed been a person.
Warrant Officer Protas Mbhele, who attended the murder scene, told the court that the deceased was Paulus Hlongwa.
His head was found about a kilometre away after being discovered by a homeless man in search of food, the officer told the court.
A different witness also fingered Ntshongwana for the murder of Simon Ngidi in Umbilo on March 23 2011.
On Monday, a witnessed identified Ntshongwana as the man who had assaulted him with a baton in Stirling Road in Yellowwood Park on November 26 2010.