Three suspects will serve hard time, two of them life sentences, after the kidnap and murder of a teacher.
Mr Patrick Muntu Mzolo, a well-known and respected educator, mysteriously went missing on September 27, 2015. He was last seen in the Ladysmith CBD after he had bought a gift for his girlfriend.
His sudden disappearance was reported to police three days later. Officers immediately opened a missing persons report and an investigation began.
The initial investigation revealed that Mzolo’s ‘lover’ could be located in Glencoe. Officers went to Glencoe, where Cebile Ntshalintshali (accused no 1) was located. She was with another man at the time.
Cebile denied knowing the whereabouts of the missing man, confirming that she had last seen him the day before. Detectives searched the premises, but found no evidence.
Cebile and the man she was with were taken in for questioning and later detained. In the meantime, Ladysmith police were called out to the banks of the Klip River, where a body had been discovered.
On receiving the call, former detective commander Colonel Cele (now Brigadier) rushed to the scene. He had been following the investigation and was eager to establish if it was the missing man police had been looking for. He co-ordinated the recovery, calling on a police diver as well as other detective aids.
The body was in an advanced stage of decomposition.
The identity of the deceased was still unknown, with a murder case being opened for investigation.
When Cebile was interviewed, she gave conflicting versions of what had transpired on the day, but she mentioned the names of two other men.
She did not implicate her ‘boyfriend’ (the man she was arrested with). He was later released.
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The case docket was handed to Captain Shabalala of the Ladysmith Detective Service’s serious and violent crime section for further investigation.
Cebile was charged for conspiracy to commit murder and made a brief appearance in the Ladysmith Magistrate’s Court, where she was remanded into custody.
A few days later, the investigating officer arrested Micheal Sizwesihle Mazibuko (accused 2) and Solishi Thulani Zwane (accused 3), the men whose names had surfaced during the interview.
They stood accused of kidnapping and murder, and were charged accordingly. After several remands and a lot of detective work, the case was heard in the Ladysmith Regional Court recently.
The accused were sentenced as follows.
Accused No 1: 3 years’ imprisonment.
Accused No 2: Life imprisonment.
Accused No 3: Life Imprisonment.
The investigating officer welcomed the sentences and places on record his sincere appreciation to all the officers who assisted him during the investigation. A special thank you to Ladysmith Regional Court State Prosecutor Mrs A Singh, who went the extra mile in ensuring the hefty sentence.