Thursday, 27 July 2017


ONE of four armed robbers involved in a spate of heists in Johannesburg before they escaped into Zimbabwe where they allegedly shot dead one of their own, was yesterday acquitted of murder.

Melusi Ndlovu (47) of Gwatemba area in Filabusi was discharged at the close of the State case by the Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Nokuthula Moyo.

The judge concluded that the State had failed to prove a prima facie case against Melusi.
Melusi and his brother Edmos Ndlovu, who is still on the run, were accused of allegedly shooting and killing their accomplice Dumisani Mbatha, a South African, on March 24 in 2001 at Manando Farm in Figtree before dumping the body in a bushy area.

Melusi was alleged to have fled to South Africa after allegedly committing the crime. He was arrested at his homestead in Filabusi in January this year.

In her judgment, Justice Moyo ruled that there was no substantial evidence linking Melusi to the murder.

“Our country’s justice system is adversarial in nature, meaning that the State must be on its toes to establish the guilt of the accused person. The court plays a neutral role and cannot therefore assist the State counsel in the prosecution of this case. There was no evidence which points that the accused person and his brother committed the murder,” said the judge.
Justice Moyo said the State failed to adduce evidence to establish a prima facie case against Melusi and formulated suspicion.

“This case hinged on circumstantial evidence. The court is not allowed to speculate in order to draw inference as there is no proven fact suggesting that the accused and his brother were angered by the deceased.”

“It is the court’s finding that the State failed to establish the prima facie against the accused person to put him to his defence. It cannot be a prima facie that the accused was last seen with the deceased. Accordingly, the accused is not guilty at the close of the State case and is hereby acquitted,” ruled the judge.

Prosecuting, Mr Khumbulani Ndlovu said on March 24 in 2001, the two Ndlovu brothers shot Mbatha with a pistol once on the head following a misunderstanding over proceeds from the heist and he died on the spot.

He said the two men hid the body in a bush at Manando Farm and fled from the area.
The court heard that on March 23 in 2001, the accused person went to his late brother Mr Robert Ndlovu’s house in Johannesburg in the company of Edmos. Melusi indicated that he wanted to travel back home to Zimbabwe with Mbatha and Edmos.

“They left Johannesburg at around 4PM and Melusi stole Robert’s passport, which he used to cross the border to Zimbabwe,” said the prosecutor.

On entering the country through Beitbridge Border Post, the three men proceeded to Pangani Training Centre in Filabusi and arrived at midnight.

On the following day, the trio drove to Bulawayo where they met their accomplice in the heist, Sikhumbuzo Moyo, at his house in Nketa 9 suburb.

“They demanded that Moyo should pay back the money which he owed them. The three men then requested Moyo to accompany them back to South Africa and he refused,” said Mr Ndlovu.

Melusi and Edmos left Bulawayo and returned to Filabusi without Mbatha. On being quizzed by relatives about the whereabouts of Mbatha, they revealed that they shot and killed him.
The body was discovered on the following day by a farm worker who reported the matter to the police.

Police questioned villagers from the area who revealed that they had last seen Mbatha entering Melusi’s car and driving away with him on the day that he was last seen alive.

The cops hunted the two brothers and later learnt that they had fled to South Africa.
Melusi was arrested on January 16 this year after police received a tip-off that he had visited his home.

Melusi was represented by Mr Jabulani Mhlanga of Masiye-Moyo and Associates. chronicle


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