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How Nathaniel Julies died, according to the ‘version’ cops gave senior officer

Three officers faced charges in the Joburg high court related to the murder of the 16-year-old

13 October 2021 - 16:42
Simon Scorpion Ndyalvane, Caylene Whiteboy and Vorster Netshiongolo during an earlier court appearance.
Simon Scorpion Ndyalvane, Caylene Whiteboy and Vorster Netshiongolo during an earlier court appearance.
Image: Sunday Times/Alaister Russell

A high-ranking officer at Eldorado Park police station testified how an accused in the Nathaniel Julies murder case, Sgt Simon Ndyalvane, gave him a version that Julies was caught in a crossfire during a shoot-out between the police and gang members.

Lt-Col James Chauke, a policeman with 29 years’ experience and who was a relief commander at the station, also explained to the high court in Johannesburg on Wednesday how Ndyalvane booked out only a shotgun and no ammunition. This was contrary to the police practice of booking out a firearm with ammunition.

Chauke also testified how another murder accused, Sgt Vorster Netshiongolo, allegedly presented to him two live rounds of 9mm ammunition on the same night at the scene where Julies was shot.

Constables Caylene Whiteboy, Ndyalvane and Netshiongolo are facing charges related to the murder of the 16-year-old, who lived with Down syndrome. Whiteboy and Ndyalvane have been charged with the murder of Julies. Ndyalvane and Netshiongolo also face counts of unlawful possession of ammunition.

Chauke said he was on standby on the day of the killing on August 26 last year and was asleep when he received a call at 10.30pm from a police officer about the shooting. He said he drove to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, where Julies was certified dead on arrival.

Chauke said he found student constables Gosing and Visagie waiting outside. The two were in the same vehicle as Whiteboy and Ndyalvane when Julies was shot near a block of flats in Eldorado Park just after 8.30pm.

Chauke said he conducted an interview with both of them to find out what happened.

“They said a murder occurred,” he told the court.

Chauke said he then went to the Eldorado Park police station’s community service centre (CSC), where Ndyalvane and Whiteboy also reported. He said Whiteboy was crying.

“I conducted the interview with Ndyalvane as to what happened,” he said.

Chauke said Ndyalvane explained that he received a tip-off about a truck in Eldorado Park where stolen property was kept.

“Upon responding, two coloured men started shooting at them. As a result, he said Const Whiteboy retaliated with a shotgun with rubber bullets,” Chauke testified.

He said Ndyalvane told him the people shooting at them were not shot, but Julies was shot accidentally, allegedly by the gang members.

“Ndyalvane said he took the victim and put him in the van and drove to [Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital to] get assistance. He was declared dead by a doctor upon arrival,” Chauke said.

While at the police station’s CSC, Chauke said he received a call from Netshiongolo, who was at the scene where Julies was shot.

Chauke asked him what he had found.

“He said he had an exhibit. He gave me two live rounds of 9mm [ammunition]. He said he found [the rounds] next to the truck,” Chauke said.

Chauke said he left Netshiongolo at the scene.

He said on arrival at the station, Chauke found Ndyalvane opening a case of attempted murder. This was in line with the version provided by Ndyalvane that gang members shot at the police when they were near the truck.

The state’s case is that after the shooting of Julies, Whiteboy and Ndyalvane decided on an explanation that would be given to authorities, alleging Julies was a casualty in a crossfire between police and gang members.

The state also alleges that Netshiongolo placed two 9mm live rounds at the scene where the deceased had been shot, thereby tampering with the crime scene to fit the false narrative of a police shoot-out with gang members.

The accused have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The trial continues on Thursday.


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