Slain officer’s sister testifies about quarrels during strained marriage
A slain Port Elizabeth policewoman’s elderly neighbour said he heard a gunshot, then a second, and a third. He then heard the sound of an engine revving, followed by a loud crash. Xolile Nyamkazi, 77, ran outside and helped drag Constable Ivy Mtwesi out of her smashed vehicle. She was barely alive.
Mtwesi’s estranged husband, also a policeman, is accused of orchestrating her brazen murder.
Mtwesi, 36, was shot dead when she returned to her Motherwell home at the end of her shift at the Zwide police station at about 6am on November 21 2015.
Her older sister, Nobubele, glaring angrily at her former brother-in-law in the dock of the Port Elizabeth High Court, said yesterday the couple had had a strained marriage.
Her sister had tried to leave him at least twice, she said.
Sergeant Mlungisi Tsitsi, 37, who was stationed at the Motherwell police station, is accused of orchestrating the murder of his estranged wife by recruiting Ndiphe Soqokomashe to organise the hit.
The prosecution claims Soqokomashe, 47, then hired suspected hitmen Sicelo Mbanga, 30, and Luyanda Nyumka, 36, who, in turn, asked Thembani Rorwana, 32, to organise a gun, and Msindisi Bhebhula, 26, to drive the getaway vehicle.
The six men – accused of acting in common purpose – pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit murder, murder and the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Struggling to fight back tears, Nobubele said Mtwesi had moved into her Mcelu Street, NU8, Motherwell, home in 2015.
“Ivy wanted a divorce from my brotherin-law,” she said.
At times, state advocate Mzwamadoda Mnyani had to encourage the upset woman to face the front and not look at the accused, seated just metres away.
Nobubele said she was unsure where Tsitsi had lived after her sister moved in with her. Tsitsi stared at her as she spoke. At times, he stretched his arms out along the headrest behind him and tapped his fingers against the wood.
His co-accused chatted among themselves, laughing quietly now and then.
“I would mostly hear them [her sister and Tsitsi] quarrelling about a girlfriend,” Nobubele said.
In 2014, a year before her murder, Mtwesi moved out of the home she had shared with Tsitsi.
“He begged her to come back and so she did,” Nobubele said.
“She told me about one fight they had where she hurt herself jumping out of a vehicle.”
Mtwesi moved in with her sister again shortly before her death.
“I woke up one night from them fighting over the child. They were struggling over him,” Nobubele said.
“I told my brother-in-law that what he was doing was unfair, involving the child. He then left.”
The prosecution believes that in September 2015 Tsitsi found out that Mtwesi was romantically involved with someone else and then allegedly paid Soqokomashe to find people to kill her.
On the morning of November 12, Bhebhula picked up the alleged hitmen in Zwide and they waited at the Zwide police station for Mtwesi to knock off from work.
They then allegedly followed her to Motherwell and, when she stopped outside her sister’s home, opened fire.
Mtwesi lost control of her vehicle and crashed into a barrier fence.
Nyamkazi testified that when he ran outside, he saw Mtwesi slumped over towards the passenger seat.
The car doors were locked so the neighbours smashed open a window and dragged her out of the vehicle.
The trial continues.