Slain MUT student was carrying gun that killed her, claims murder accused

09 December 2019 - 17:36 By LWANDILE BHENGU
Thabani Mzolo in the Durban high court, where he is accused of murdering Zolile Khumalo. He claims she had shown a pattern of liking guns and was carrying the gun that killed her on the night she died.
Thabani Mzolo in the Durban high court, where he is accused of murdering Zolile Khumalo. He claims she had shown a pattern of liking guns and was carrying the gun that killed her on the night she died.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Thabani Mzolo, the man accused of murdering Mangosuthu University of Technology student Zolile Khumalo, has claimed it was the slain student who was carrying the gun that killed her.

Mzolo took to the stand in the Durban high court on Monday, where he claimed that when he visited Khumalo at her South Beach residence on the night she was killed, he found her in possession of a gun.

“I looked at the chair she was sitting on and between her thighs was a gun. I then took the gun as we continued talking,” said Mzolo.

He said he took the gun and tucked into the waist of his pants. He later instructed Khumalo to come and kiss him as he and Simso Buthelezi, a friend of Mzolo who lived in Khumalo’s residence, were leaving.

“I told her to come and kiss me and that she mustn't forget it was over between us. I said that jokingly, but I seemed serious. She came to me and grabbed the gun from my waist and it went off. I don't recall how many times it went off but it was more than once. Twice, I think.

"After that, everything went blank, I did not know what was happening until the police arrived and took me to the police station," said Mzolo.

Khumalo died on the floor in her room at Lonsdale Residence in May 2018 as a result of gunshot wounds to her head and chest. Mzolo was arrested shortly after her death, while still inside the residence building.

He told the court that Khumalo had shown a pattern of liking guns. To back this claim, he presented a photograph, allegedly taken from Khumalo’s WhatsApp profile picture, of her carrying what appears to be a rifle.

“I asked her what her thing with guns was, and she said she had bought it to shoot me because a small gun would not do,” said Mzolo.

Mzolo also told the court about an incident when Khumalo allegedly pulled a gun on him because she suspected he was cheating, while they were staying in a house in Umhlanga.

Judge Nompumelelo Radebe came down on Mzolo’s lawyer, advocate Bonokwakhe Dlamini, for not authenticating Mzolo’s photo of Khumalo carrying the gun. Mzolo said he had asked his brother to print if off his laptop on December 4. Radebe said Dlamini needed to verify that the photograph was real and unedited.

Khumalo’s family said they were shocked by Mzolo’s claims about Khumalo carrying a gun.

“We know Zolile. She would never do that. Where would she even get the gun?" asked Zolile’s sister, Mabongi Myeni.

Mzolo will continue on the stand on Tuesday.


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