Releasing school shooting accused could lead to ‘bloodbath’
Releasing the man accused of shooting his ex-girlfriend dead while he held her down with his foot on the playground of a school could lead to a “bloodbath”.
This is according to investigating officer Det Con Masakhane Putumani, who testified for the state in Avumile Mbuyiseni Nodongwe’s bail hearing in the Mthatha magistrate’s court on Monday.
The state is opposing bail.
Noloyiso Gengqa, 35, was shot and killed in full view of her terrified co-workers at Mandleni Junior Secondary School in Xunu village near Mthatha on August 24.
Putumani said the community of Xunu, where Gengqa lived, and residents of adjacent Manyosini village, were baying for blood, but there were also fears over what Nodongwe would do if released.
''It would be illogical to release him [Nodongwe] on bail. Even the life of the deceased’s elderly mother would be at stake as he had threatened to kill her as well,” Putumani told the court.
“Also, he quite clearly knew the witnesses as the killing occurred in full view of the deceased’s colleagues. After shooting her twice in the back of her neck, he pointed the firearm at the witnesses who had confronted him and begged him not to kill the deceased.''
A petition calling for Nodongwe to be denied bail, signed by hundreds of villagers, was submitted to the court by prosecutor Nobuntu Mbunye.
Nodongwe had no pending cases or previous convictions, but the investigating officer said villagers feared him.
Many accused him of being a stock theft mastermind in the area, he said.
Putumani said the killing was “not spontaneous but premeditated”.
“After exchanging harsh words with the deceased and her mother, he woke up the next morning and went to borrow a firearm from a friend. He went to the school with the intention to kill. He claimed that the mother had accused him of having infected her daughter with Aids and he was angry,'' Putumani said.
Nodongwe has told the court he would plead not guilty, saying he was coerced into making a confession.
This was denied by Putumani.
Putumani said it had been difficult for police to apprehend Nodongwe.
''We used police dogs and horses to track him down to the mountains where he was hiding. We used modern technology to trace his movements, after the signal of his cellphone.
“It was only when he found that he had nowhere to run that he went to a lawyer, who is a neighbour of his friend, and who handed him over to police,'' Putumani said.
Nodongwe's Legal Aid SA lawyer, Buhle Ndaba, argued that her client was a law-abiding citizen who did not evade arrest.
''It was not the dogs and horses who took him to the police. After learning from his home that police were looking for him, he handed himself over. Is that not the deed of a law-abiding citizen?''
But Putumani said the decision to hand himself over “was the action of desperate man who knew he had nowhere to escape to”.
Magistrate Sibusiso Xolo postponed the bail hearing to September 21 for arguments and a possible ruling. — DispatchLIVE
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