Police warned of AK-47-armed gang

Dudu Busani

Dudu Busani

Police were warned that there were more than 20 men, all good shooters and armed to the teeth with AK-47's, before they headed for the Jeppestown massacre house.

This evidence was given in the Johannesburg high court by Constable Noxolo Nzimande when she recalled what Thembinkosi Tshabalala had confessed to her on the day she arrested him.

Tshabalala, who has since died, was the officer who led the police to the Jeppestown massacre house. But Nzimande's testimony was later thrown out of court.

Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng ruled on Friday that since Tshabalala had died before the trial, and could not take the witness stand to confirm or deny the confession he made to Nzimande, what he said could not be used in court.

Nzimande told the court that on June 25 2006 she was called to a Pick n Pay supermarket in Honeydew after an armed robbery.

"My partner, Constable Bowane, and I arrived at the scene soon after the robbery," Nzimande said.

"We found a group of people near the supermarket. We followed a car that had appeared out of nowhere. About two streets away, we came across a man who was walking in the opposite direction.

"The person in the car we were following signalled to us that the man we had come across was one of the robbers."

Nzimande and Bowane turned around to pursue the man who was later identified as Tshabalala.

"When we searched him we found he had a gun," Nzimande said. "He confessed to being one of the robbers and said he would help us.

"He offered to take us to a house where all the other robbers were, but warned us that they were heavily armed."