WATCH | UKZN student accused of murder says burnt roommate 'was a zombie'

UKZN student Khanyile Nzimande appeared in the Pinetown Magistrate's court on Monday in connection with the murder of Bcom student Simukelo Zondi.
UKZN student Khanyile Nzimande appeared in the Pinetown Magistrate's court on Monday in connection with the murder of Bcom student Simukelo Zondi.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

A 25-year-old University of KwaZulu-Natal student, A University of KwaZulu-Natal student, Khanyile Nzimande, has apparently confessed to killing his friend who he described as “a zombie that blocked his fortune” in a video circulating on social media.

Samkelo Zondi's burnt body was discovered on Saturday in a rugby field near the Westville campus in Durban.

The 24-year-old BCom student is one of many students who have since died in the hands of other students at institutions of higher learning in SA this year.

According to SRC president Siyabonga Nkandako, Zondi was reported missing by his girlfriend on Thursday.

“Zondi and the suspect were close friends and also roommates. He was an indoor soccer player and the suspect asked him to go and train with him at a nearby rugby field. He never came back and his burnt body was spotted two days later. The suspect handed himself to the campus security and confessed to killing his friend because he was a zombie blocking his luck,” Nkandako said.

The video showed the suspect being asked by security guards why he killed his friend. He can be heard saying: “Ngeke siwungcwabe umkhovu (We cant bury a zombie)." When asked as to who helped him, the suspected said: “I was alone, I did not need any help. I just poured paraffin on the zombie and dosed it.”

Police spokesperson Brig Jay Naicker said the suspect has been arrested for murder. “At this stage we are waiting for the results of the postmortem to determine the cause of death,” Naicker said.

In April, Banzi Ndamase, 29, a Water Sisulu student, was thrown from the third floor of a Mthatha residence by fellow students. In June, Liyabona Marente and Siyabonga Manana were killed when a fresher's party turned violent at the same campus.

In September, a Fort Hare student died after he was stabbed by a fellow student.

SRC president Alungile Kamtshe at the time told DispatchLIVE that the victim was the eighth student to die on campus.

Sandile Ndlovu, 18, a Durban University of Technology student, was brutally stabbed in class and died in hospital after spending more than two weeks on life support due to extensive brain damage.

A week ago, Sanga Ndesana, 19, a student at Nelson Mandela University, died after a fight with his roommate. Prof Ahmed Bawa, CEO at University South Africa, said this was a national and social crisis which has deep and complex roots.

“There is no question that universities can and must do better at improving the safety of students on campus and for this we need to work closely with government and civil society organisations.

“There are calls for cameras and surveillance equipment to be installed, but many of these murders take place inside residence rooms where it is unfeasible to do so.”

Nzimande, told the Pinetown magistrate's court, where he appeared for allegedly killing his roommate, that it wasn't fair that his family weren't present.

The student is charged with the murder of BCom student Simukelo Zondi, whose burnt remains were discovered in a bush at the university's Westville campus at the weekend.

When asked by the magistrate who would represent him, a barefoot Nzimande said police had denied him the right to call his family to discuss his legal representation.

“How do I end up in court without my family being informed? How is that possible? Is that a fair game? That's not a fair game, ” Nzimande said.

The matter temporarily stood down for Nzimande to speak to an elderly man, who was a family member.

Once the matter resumed, the magistrate explained to Nzimande that he would be kept in police custody while further investigations and address verification, for the purpose of bail, would be done.

“How long will the investigation take?” asked Nzimande.

His matter will be back in court on October 21.

The court appearance comes after a video has been doing the rounds in which Nzimande is seen in the university's risk management services office. In the video he tells security officers that Zondi died because he was a “zombie” and involved in witchcraft.

Following Zondi's death, UKZN suspended lectures for half the day on Monday

“Suspending the programme will allow staff and students from UKZN to meet the family, and staff, and students will be free to seek assistance and support from one another in dealing with their own questions and concerns around how we got to this point as a community, and to deal with their personal grief, ” the university said in a communique  to staff and students.

Students are expected to hold a march for Zondi on Monday.


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