Plot to murder teachers unfolds

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

One of the hitmen accused of killing two Hlokohloko primary school teachers, Philile Mthenjane and Phindile Ntuli, has told the Phongolo high court that he needed the money to put food on the table for his children.

Bhekani Gumede yesterday told the court he had no choice as he had already taken R1200 from the school governing body and the school principal.

The school principal Anton Mathenjwa and his alleged hitmen Gumede and Thulani Qwabe were arrested in March after two of his teachers disappeared.

Their bodies were later found dumped in the bushes with gunshot wounds.

Mathenjwa and his crew were arrested after they were found with bank cards and cellphones belonging to the dead teachers.

Yesterday Gumede told the court that the actual plan was to kill Mthenjane as she was "disobedient toward Mathenjwa and allegedly used muthi on him so that he suffered from headaches".

Gumede said his role in the whole drama was to drive the car after they had hijacked the two teachers who were driving a bakkie at the time.

"I drove the car, while he [referring to Qwabe] sat at the back with the women and drove to a very isolated area.

Gumede claimed the gun used belonged to Qwabe and he stayed in the car for the duration of the episode, while Qwabe escorted the women into the bushes.

He told the court that he did not see anything but only heard three gunshots.

"When he came back he jumped into the passenger seat and I drove home without saying a word to him," he said.

He said Ntuli was at the wrong place at the wrong time and that it was Qwabe's decision that both women be killed as Ntuli knew him and would spill the beans if she lived.

Qwabe is expected to give evidence this morning. Through his lawyer Collins Madikane, when asked if what Gumede was saying was the truth, he vowed that when it was his turn to testify he would prove that Gumede's statement was nothing but a fabrication.

Qwabe is expected to take the witness stand today.

The court gallery was packed with teachers, union and family members.