All three accused of husbands’ murder plead innocent

WHITE RIVER – The bail application for Ms Ethel Simangele Mdluli (54) and her  co-accused in the murder of her husband began on Friday. Mdluli, Mr Peter Khoza (52), who police believe is her boyfriend, and a 32-year-old taxi driver, Mr Xolani Mngwenya, all pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mahlatsi Secondary’s former principal, Mr Mvelase Solomon Mdluli (57).

Protesters had gathered once again outside the court, demanding that all three be  denied bail.

Mvelase was suffocated with a black plastic bag while he was watching the Africa Cup of Nations at his house in White River on January 23. His car, a television and a fan were stolen from his home. His car was found abandoned near KaNyamazane Police Station a few days later.

In his statement, Ngwenyama said he knew the two other accused due to them hiring him for transportation. On the night of the crime, he stated he was requested to pick up Khoza and another man at a garage and drop them off in a residential street. He was later phoned to pick them up in KaNyamazane. He said they had left a phone and a TV in the taxi. He declared he only received a payment of R500, so he sold the phone. This was when the police arrested him. He stated he had only provided transportation.

Khoza stated he had been an officer with the Department of Correctional Services since 1994. He did not deny he knew Ethel, and had met her at the hospital a few times. He added that he had never had a relationship with her, as alleged by the police. The only reason he was in contact with her was because he was trying to help her purchase property in the area.

Ethel took the stand last, and said she had been watching TV and decided to go to bed. “An unknown man with a balaclava came into my room and told me to keep quiet. He asked for the keys of the safe.”
He tied her wrists and ankles with a rope. “I rolled off the bed when I heard it was quiet, and then rolled until I got to my daughter’s bedroom door where I banged loudly against it.” She said she had been traumatised by the events and the loss of her husband, who was the father of her children.

She claimed police had assaulted her for a confession and stated they had put a plastic bag over her head and tried to suffocate her. But she still did not confess to the crime. She said her husband was the one who had an extramarital affair. “Also the allegations that I made him ill were not true. He had been ill since 2009.

If I had not phoned the ambulance the last time, he would have died.” Ethel said they had recently reconciled before his death.

She said her late husband’s family was not supporting her daughters while she was in custody.
The matter was postponed until today for the state to present its case.

All three remained in custody.

Read more here : Two nabbed for allegedly plotting husbands’ murders

Tereasa Dias

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