Court to decide on 'killer bullet'

Dudu Busani

Dudu Busani

The Johannesburg High Court has to determine whether it was the first or second bullet that killed Sicelo Mthembu before passing judgement on the man standing trial for his murder.

Mthembu was shot three times before his body was cut open and his heart, lungs, intestines and genitals were removed. Mthembu and the man on trial for his murder, Nkosinathi Maponya were members of the Roto Gang, a criminal syndicate based in Randburg.

Mthembu's body was found in Rockville, Soweto. Yesterday the court heard closing arguments from the state and defence counsels. However, according to previous testimony, Maponya only shot Mthembu after he had already been shot by another gang member.

The defence argued that Mthembu might have already been dead when Maponya allegedly shot him, meaning that if found guilty, he cannot be convicted of murder. Maponya has also been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.

In his testimony, Maponya admitted to being present during the murder but said all he did was watch. He also denied being a member of the Roto Gang and said he only associated with them because they sold marijuana, which he smokes.

However, two witnesses who were also present during the murders said Maponya fired two bullets at Mthembu. Four other Roto Gang members, Paul Fakude, Amos "Banzi" Rolim, Bongani "Bobo" Mtshali and David Bakaqane have already been convicted of Mthembu's murder. Judgement will be handed down on Monday.