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‘I didn’t plot my brother’s murder’

Before the killing, they were in a bitter dispute over the headmanship position Thandisizwe occupied in Khwanyana village

Nkosi Sinikiwe Ndamase is accused of plotting the murder of his brother Thandisizwe, who he was in a dispute with over the headmanship of Khwanyana village.
Nkosi Sinikiwe Ndamase is accused of plotting the murder of his brother Thandisizwe, who he was in a dispute with over the headmanship of Khwanyana village.
Image: Lulamile Feni

Former Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders (ECHTL) senior member Nkosi Sinikiwe Ndamase has denied orchestrating the brutal killing of his younger brother, Nkosi Thandisizwe Ndamase.

Before the killing, they were in a bitter dispute over the headmanship position Thandisizwe occupied in Khwanyana village. This divided the royal family and residents took sides.

Sinikiwe – who is the head of the Mhlanganisweni Traditional Council and rules from Khwanyana village near Port St Johns – and two KwaZulu-Natal men, Mphendulelo Faya Ngwazi, 51, of KwaDwashula location in Port St Shepstone, and Vincent Musa Cele, 61, of Umkhombe location in Port Shepstone, are on trial in the Mthatha high court.

They were arrested on May 30 2019 after Thandisizwe , 41, died on May 24 2019 when gunmen sprayed him with bullets at his home.

Appearing before judge Fathima Dawood on Wednesday, the three pleaded not guilty to six charges – conspiracy to commit murder, murder, possession of a firearm with intent to commit crime, possession of a prohibited firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.

Ndamase, 46, appeared in court wearing a leopard skin print vest, normally worn by traditional leaders; while the alleged hitmen had clean and shiny shaven heads.

Their lawyer, Adv Lulama Halam, told the court his clients had told him they had no knowledge of the allegations against them and therefore should be acquitted.

They were initially arrested with three others – headman Nkosentsha Nomngongo, 74, taxi driver Lumkile Nofatyela, 42, and Kokstad prison warder Malibongwe Ndwalana, 45.

They were acquitted and some turned state witnesses and are to testify against the trio.

The prosecutor read a postmortem report compiled by Lusikisiki district surgeon Dr Prince Mancotywa, which said Thandisizwe had died of multiple shot wounds.

Accused number one and the deceased are brothers. They had quarrelled as to who must be the [traditional leader] of the area,” she said.

“The deceased was shot and killed by the hitmen and died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds.

“The accused persons acted in concert of or furtherance of common purpose when committing the said offences,” the prosecutor told the judge.

By the time Ndamase was arrested he was an ECHTL member. Acting chair Nkosi Langa Mavuso confirmed to Sowetan's sister publication the Dispatch that Ndamase had since been removed.

The trial has been set for three weeks from January 18 to February 4 and the state has a list of 20 witnesses expected to testify.

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