Sithole accused of loading prohibited ammunition into the firearm used to kill Julies

Caylene Whiteboy, Simon Ndyalvane and Vorster Netshiangolo at the Palm Ridge magistrate court. Whiteboy’s lawyer, Adv Solly Tshivhase, put it to state witness Mandla Sithole that he had handed over the shotgun that killed Julies after loading it.
Caylene Whiteboy, Simon Ndyalvane and Vorster Netshiangolo at the Palm Ridge magistrate court. Whiteboy’s lawyer, Adv Solly Tshivhase, put it to state witness Mandla Sithole that he had handed over the shotgun that killed Julies after loading it.
Image: Thulani Mbele

A lawyer of one of the police officers facing a charge of murdering 16-year-old Nathaniel Julies, has accused a witness on the stand of loading prohibited ammunition into the firearm that was used to kill the teenager.

Constable Mandla Sithole, who was present when Julies was shot metres from his home, previously gave testimony on the events that led to Julies’ murder on August 26 last year.

During cross-examination in the high court in Johannesburg, sitting in the Palm Ridge magistrate’s court, on Thursday, Const Caylene Whiteboy’s lawyer, Adv Solly Tshivhase, put it to Sithole that he had handed over the shotgun after loading it.

“I put it to you that my client will testify that you are the one who booked the shotgun from the police station and that after loading it, you are the one who handed over the firearm to her. She will further testify that you kept the firearm in your possession until you handed it over to her,” said Tshivhase.

However, Sithole retorted by emphasising that the shotgun that killed Julies was booked from the police station by Sergeant Scorpion Ndyalvane.

“She [Whiteboy] is blaming me for something I don't know. She is making me a black Jesus and she is putting all the blame on me,” said Sithole. 

On Monday, Whiteboy and Ndyalvane pleaded not guilty to charges of Julies’ murder. Ndyalvane and Netshiongolo also pleaded not guilty to counts of unlawful possession of ammunition.

All the accused also face a count of defeating the ends of justice, while Netshiongolo is facing a count of perjury.

On Wednesday, an explosive recording containing the voices of Whiteboy and Ndyalvane lifted the lid on how the officers allegedly conspired to cover up the killing. 

The recording was extracted from Sithole’s phone, which contains the voices of himself, Whiteboy, Ndyalvane and two other officers after the murder of Julies in Eldorado Park, southern Johannesburg. 

In the audio, Whiteboy is heard saying: “... listen, we got information that there were two males standing at the container [truck] and they opened fire. The story is, we heard a gunshot when we got to the container. I got out last and when I shot that child [Julies] [he had] ran into the crossfire.”

Sithole further elaborated that Whiteboy was the only one who had addressed them about what to say.

Sithole told the court that he recorded the 20-minute clip on their way to Eldorado Park police station after they left Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Diepkloof, Soweto, where Julies was declared dead. 

The state further played the recording in which Whiteboy is heard saying, “...Scorpion prevented us from using the pistols and I came out with the shotgun and I did not know there was live rounds in the gun.” 

In a later segment of the recording, Whiteboy is heard saying: “Guys, I’m going to be arrested, neh?”

Sithole and two other officers respond in unison: “No.” 

She continued: “Why the hell did he [Ndyalvane] give us live rounds. He knows it's dangerous.” 

In a later segment, Ndyalvane is heard allegedly hatching a plan to tamper with the scene and give credence to their story.  “Forster is at the scene. He will plant two bullets at the scene by that container, like they were shooting at us.” 

Ndyalvane further tells Sithole not to say anything to anyone.  

Ndyalvane  is also heard concocting to plant live rounds at the scene before they called the Independent Police Investigative Directorate to report the shooting. “Even if you can put one there, that will be fine,” he is heard saying.

The trial continues.