Durban – Despite video footage placing him on the scene, a Durban man on trial for a murder and robberies on the M13 near Westwood Mall took the witness stand in the Durban High Court on Wednesday and denied involvement in the incidents, although he admits he is the man captured on video.
Gamalakhe Mdladla, 27, is believed to be the man who killed Mohamed Yusuf Janoo Joosab during a robbery on the M13 bridge near the mall on November 21, 2017. Joosab, an MTN sales manager, was walking to the mall where he worked when he was attacked and stabbed 12 times.
The court heard through the investigating officer, Mohamed Suliman Charles, that although blood found on pants and a knife seized from Mdladla’s house during his arrest had not tested positive for DNA, the evidence of two witnesses and victims linked him to the murder and three robberies.
Mdladla was arrested by Charles and members of the Dog Unit at an informal settlement on Kennedy Road. His alleged accomplice is still at large.
Leonard Mphuthi, another robbery victim, testified that he was robbed by Mdladla and his accomplice at the same spot near the mall in October 2017 while waiting for a friend to pick him up.
His evidence was that, a month later, while waiting for his friend to give him a lift, he witnessed Joosab being robbed and killed on the M13.
Joosab’s colleague Nkosinathi Shange had recorded a video, which was played in court, of Mdladla and his accomplice when they ran into bushes after the incident. Shange had also pointed out Mdladla during the identity parade.
Another robbery victim, Joan Lynche, 63, had testified that she was robbed of her handbag on Women’s Day last August. She also pointed out Mdladla during the identity parade.
Mdladla told the court that he frequently used the M13 route when walking to the Westville suburbs where he worked as a gardener.
Mdladla said the video was taken on a day when he was going to fetch his money from his employer in Westville.
Admitting that the man captured on video is him, he, however, denied robbing or killing anyone.
“I think on that day I went to fetch my money from Shaun (his employer). I do not know that man who walked ahead of me,” he said.
Mdladla denied carrying a firearm and that his accomplice carried a knife.
“I do not own a firearm and have never laid my hands on one since I was born,” he said.
He said he was sleeping in his shack when the police stormed on him with a dog.
“I was sleeping. The door was not locked and the lights were on. I heard the door being pushed and I saw police with a dog entering the room. They pointed firearms at me and let the dog on me. I was badly injured. The dog bit me on both my arms and legs. They left the dog to bite me and told me to admit to killing a Muslim man,” he said.
However, Sergeant Pedro Rodrigues testified that the door had been blocked with furniture from inside and that the dog attacked him because he was violent .
The trial continues.