In an outburst after she had finished giving evidence Joyce Mzolo said: “As I am leaving court I know I am a dead person.”
Pointing to the three men charged with shooting Cebisile Shezi dead on October 6 last year, Mzolo said: “These people here won’t do it. They will send people to kill me. I am a mother of five children.”
National Freedom Party councillor Mgezeni “Bhungu” Gwala, his son Celimpilo “Mjabelelwa” Gwala and security guard Skhumbuzo Nxumalo are accused of shooting Shezi dead on October 6. She was wearing an IFP T-shirt at the time.
She was killed after Inkatha Freedom Party supporters converged on Bhungu Gwala’s house near the Thembalihle railway station, KwaMashu.
The group, including Mzolo, went to the house shortly after Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa addressed IFP supporters at a sports field in A-section KwaMashu, that day. Mthethwa had been speaking to IFP supporters in an attempt to reduce tension in the area after the abduction of IFP councillor Themba Xulu.
Xulu was out on bail after he was arrested for allegedly trying to burn down Bhungu Gwala’s house. Xulu’s body was found the next day. He had been shot.
Originally another son, Bonginhlanhla Gwala, and another security guard, Sibusiso Ncengwa, were also charged with the murder. The charges against them were withdrawn.
Magistrate Trevor Levitt ordered that police ensure Mzolo’s safety. Mzolo said the police officer who took her statement “mixed up” everything she told him. She made this claim when it was pointed out to her that her testimony to the court differed substantially from the police statement.
Mzolo was being cross-examined by Simphiwe Moloi, the lawyer for the Gwalas.
Mzolo told the court that two people appeared and started shooting at the crowd outside the Gwalas’ house. In her statement she claimed there were four people, including Gwala’s other son Bonginhlanhla.
In her statement she claimed that Bhungu Gwala was brandishing a firearm and started swearing at the crowd before the shooting. However, in her testimony she said that only after the shooting did he emerge and start cursing the crowd.
Asked about the discrepancies, she said: “I never read the statement up until today.”
Asked why she had then signed it, she asked: “If a person says I must sign there, then what must I do?”
She denied embellishing her statement to police because she was angry that Gwala had left the IFP to join the NFP.
The trial continues.