Two members of the SAPS Ulundi Task Team were sentenced last week to 34 years in jail for kidnapping, culpable homicide and two counts of murder.
These stem from two separate incidents.
The first took place on May 6, 2009, when constables Lucky Khumbulani Mdluli and Bonwayinkosi Nxumalo – together with task team members Warrant Officer Maxwell Nsibande and constables Nkosinathi Dlamini and Thembisani Zulu – confronted suspects sought for various serious cases in the Melmoth and Ulundi area.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate’s (IPID) Moses Dlamini said the team went to the Nkandla area looking for Nathi Nkwanyana, who was staying with his girlfriend, Nonhlahla Ntanzi.
“The police took Nathi and his girlfriend to the bush on the route from Nkandla to Melmoth, where they were tortured until Nathi Nkwanyana died.”
Ntanzi was taken back to her house.
Dlamini said, “They reported that Nkwanyana died because of injuries he sustained when he fell on a tree stump while attempting to escape from police custody.”
In a second incident, almost three weeks later, members of the same unit were involved in an incident that led to the death of Lungani Biyela.
On May 29 the team arrested Biyela at the Melmoth bus terminus.
Dlamini reported that the police had said they were taking Biyela to the Ulundi police station, but this didn’t happen.
”Instead, they took him to an isolated area along the Umfolozi River, where he was tortured until he was unconscious.
“In an attempt to cover up, Constable Mdluli shot Lungani Biyela with an unlicensed firearm and placed the weapon next to the body to give the impression that it was in self-defence,” said Dlamini.
Last week at the Mtunzini High Court Mdluli and Nxumalo were sentenced to three years for kidnapping, 10 for culpable homicide and 21 for two counts of murder.
Charges were withdrawn against Nsibande and Dlamini. Zulu shot and killed himself when the IPID attempted to arrest him.
Nkwanyana’s brother, Njabulo, said the family welcomed the sentence. “Even though it won’t bring my brother back, we are very happy with the decision the court has taken.”