Seven months after the man accused of brutally bludgeoning a Nelson Mandela University student to death with a cricket bat was accidentally released, police have finally caught up with him, bringing a measure of relief to the victim’s grief-stricken family.
Zolile Mfeketho, 20 – accused of the vicious murder of Asadullah Ajimudin, 19, in 2015 – walked away from the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court after a botched release last August.
Since then, police have been hunting for Mfeketho, who is believed to have been stealthily moving around the Bay to avoid capture.
He was arrested in September 2016 for the murder and robbery of Ajimudin, a computer science and mathematics student, who was attacked in a botched burglary in August 2015.
Since Mfeketho was accidentally released, detectives have been following up various leads in an attempt to track him down.
“Detectives have spent months going around Port Elizabeth following up leads. Each time they get a tip-off, they arrive at the location and he is gone,” police spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said.
“They even waited for him at his house for days on end, but he did not pitch.”
The arrest took place late on Tuesday after police received a tip-off on Mfeketho’s whereabouts in Walmer township.
“At about 11.30pm, detective constables Ridwaan Baatjies and John Leppan and the K9 Unit raided the house he was believed to be hiding in,” Naidu said.
“The hide-out in Mankazana Street is a well-known drug den.
“Mfeketho was sleeping in the shack with four other people.”
Mfeketho appeared yesterday in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court, where he was again charged with the murder and robbery of Ajimudin.
“The case will now be placed back on the court roll for trial.”
At the time of his accidental release, Mfeketho was an awaiting-trial prisoner at St Albans Prison after being denied bail.
The victim’s father, Sayed Jalaluddin Ajimudin, who lives in Kimberley, said while they were upset about Mfeketho’s botched release, they were glad to hear he had been rearrested.
“The release of this man made us very angry, but at least now we can get back on the right track to get justice. This whole ordeal has been extremely traumatic for my entire family and obviously the wheels of justice turn slowly, which is frustrating. We hope that now we can get justice and closure,” he said.
Acting Mount Road Cluster commander Brigadier Andrew Louw said the detectives should be commended.
“Whenever information was received about the accused’s possible whereabouts, these members, irrespective of the day or time, immediately followed through with such information,” he said.
“We thank the community for their assistance as well in working ‘hand in glove’ with the police to ensure Mfeketho’s arrest.
ment is key to the successful combating of crime in our communities.
“Together we can make sure they are arrested and behind bars where they belong,” he said.
Insiders say the confusion which led to Mfeketho’s release arose as police, allegedly advised by the prosecutor, believed the case would be postponed so they did not attend court.
Police claimed they had subpoenaed witnesses and had gone to court but did not stay as they were allegedly told the case would only be postponed.
According to the prosecutor, however, this was not the case and the docket showed no witnesses had been subpoenaed.
Authorities said the release appeared to be miscommunication between detectives and the prosecution.
The mistake was realised the same day and a warrant for Mfeketho’s immediate arrest was issued. But by that stage he had already been freed.
Asked whether Mfeketho could be linked to any other attacks – mainly on students – since his release, Naidu said that would have to be investigated.
Two cases police are going to be honing in on are two separate robberies and stabbings last month when two university students were attacked and stabbed in Summerstrand. They took place just 15 hours apart.
At about 2.30am on February 7, Lwandile Madikizela, 20, from East London, was stabbed during a house robbery at a student commune in Gomery Place.
Madikizela – a third-year tourism management student – was placed in a medically induced coma for more than five days while receiving treatment.
In the second attack that evening, Aobakwe Modisane, 23, a law student, was stabbed in the chest during a robbery on the outskirts of the university’s north campus.
Modisane, who is from Botswana, was attacked when three men pounced on him, holding him at knife-point.
Mfeketho will remain in custody until his next court appearance.