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Ngubane appears in court for bail application

'I was paid R15,000 to drive' - suspect in Rustenburg businessman's murder

Koena Mashale Journalist
Sibongiseni Ngubane appears at the Rusternburg magistrates court
Sibongiseni Ngubane appears at the Rusternburg magistrates court
Image: Veli Nhlapo

The man accused of killing businessman Ben Gumbi has told the court that he was paid R15,000 to drive from Johannesburg to Rustenburg where the murder happened.

Sibongiseni Ngubane appeared in Rustenburg magistrate’s court on Monday to apply for bail and is charged with the murder of Gumbi who was shot and killed by two men in front of Platō Coffee in the Rustenburg CBD on August 23. 

Ngubane told the court that he was a Bolt driver who usually used a Toyota Yaris to ferry passengers in Gauteng. He said on the day of the incident he had received a call from his friend Sibiya to transport people from Johannesburg to Rustenburg.

His passengers gave him a blue VW Polo, which he then used for the trip to the North West.

“They told me that I must leave my car and get inside another car... They did not tell me what kind of a job we’d be doing in Rustenburg,” said Ngubane when asked by prosecutor about the car, which the state has since established was stolen and was using fake registration plates. 

Ngubane said the Polo was dumped in Rustenburg and they used a Toyota Corolla Quest, which was driven by someone else back to Johannesburg. 

The prosecutor asked him why he did not question the change of cars to which Ngubane said: “It did not come to my mind to inquire from them. That surprised me but it only passed my mind later to inquire but I did not ask.”

Ngubane said he was not immediately paid for the trip and only the following day he called Sibiya to inquire about payment.

“He [Sibiya] said I must come to town in Johannesburg. He came and said ‘here’s your parcel’. It was R15,000 and that shocked me. It was just that thing where I had to accept what had happened,” said Ngubane, conceding that he has never made so much money from a single trip.

A single trip for Bolt from Johannesburg to Rustenburg costs about R2,000 and that means Ngubane would have pocketed about R13,000 from the trip.

The court did not go into details about what happened once Ngubane and his passengers arrived in Rustenburg. However, NPA spokesperson in North West Henry Mamothame said the state had enough evidence to place him at the crime scene. 

“He also placed himself at the crime scene and his fingerprints were found in the Polo. We have evidence to believe that he was one of the triggermen at the crime scene but all these details will be used at a later stage of the trial,” said Mamothame yesterday.

Ngubane has a pending case of possession of a illegal firearm and ammunition in Alberton, Ekurhuleni, where he was granted R1,000 bail. He also has cash-in-transit robbery charge, which he also received bail for in Germiston before he was arrested for Gumbi’s murder last month. His bail conditions included that he should not get involved in criminal activities and mustn’t be caught in possession of a firearm.

“You were given bail twice but that did not stop you twice from committing crime, do you not see a problem in that?” asked the prosecutor.

“Correct. The offences I committed were never intended, like the matter in Alberton, the weapon wasn’t mine. I want the court to give me the same bail conditions because this won’t happen again. This is the very last time I request another chance. 

“I contravened the conditions I was given and I apologise for that. I promise to this court that I will never do it again. I don’t recall being told what would happen if I went against the conditions but that if I don’t attend my cases or show up at the Alberton police station to sign then I would be arrested,” said Ngubane.

The court is expected to make a ruling on his bail application later this week.

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