Facing the four men accused of killing her dad
Daughter of man shot in hijacking anxious for justice
More than two years after her beloved father was mercilessly gunned down near the Greenacres shopping complex in a botched hijacking following a jewellery store heist, Siphokazi Goduka has mixed feelings now that the trial of the four men accused of killing him has finally begun.
Speaking outside the Port Elizabeth High Court on Monday, Goduka, 34, said though she and her family were pleased that justice was being served, they still had difficulty dealing with the murder.
“[The trial] brings back very bad memories of that day and it is very badly affecting our family,” Goduka said. She was going to counselling and had stopped working while trying to deal with her father’s death.
Her mother was still too traumatised to attend the court case.
Asked how she felt seeing her father’s alleged killers in court, Goduka said she was angry and shaken, and that it hurt to hear the men – Lindokuhle January, 21, Olwethu Dlanga, 21, Awonke Yako, 20, and Lonwabo Maweni, 42 – plead not guilty to the charges.
“We, as a family, need closure,” she said.
“If they just pleaded [guilty], the trial would be shorter and we could start the healing process.”
The four men have been charged with murder, attempted murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping, illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, and an alternative charge of money laundering, among others.
Court documents show how the men’s alleged reign of terror started on July 16 2016, when at least two of the accused, armed with guns and an iron rod, hijacked a Chinese national in Komani.
It is alleged that the men tied up the Chinese man and after driving around with him for some time, dropped him off on the side of a road.
The car that was stolen – a Honda CR-V – was then allegedly used by the four men, along with Xolisa Mantana and an unknown driver, to drive to the Greenacres shopping complex on July 29 2016 to rob a jewellery store.
It is alleged the five men entered the shopping centre and robbed Fischer’s Jewellers of more than R600,000 worth of jewellery and other items.
After accosting the security guard stationed at Fischer’s and threatening staff, the suspects ran out to the parking lot only to find that their getaway driver had fled the scene.
Police who were called to the scene noticed men wielding firearms in the parking lot and gave chase under fire from the suspects.
During the commotion, the robbers attempted to hijack a red VW Golf after smashing the passenger’s side window with a hammer.
The driver, Frederick George, managed to drive away.
They then tried to hijack a white Mitsubishi Colt bakkie and, in the process, shot dead Ronald Monde Goduka, 67.
Goduka had just finished his shopping after dropping children off at a nearby school.
After the shooting, Yako allegedly ran in the direction of the McDonald’s on Cape Road and was apprehended by police in Westview Drive.
January, Dlanga and Maweni, according to the indictment, fled to the Cell C parking area where they allegedly hijacked a white VW Polo, which was later found abandoned in 2nd Avenue, Newton Park.
January and Dlanga were arrested later that day in Schauderville while Maweni was arrested after DNA evidence collected at Fischer’s linked him to the crime.
Mantana died shortly after the incident.
On Monday, security guard Dumisani Nxame, who was stationed at Fischer’s on the day of the robbery, testified he was standing at the door of the shop when three men entered and threatened him with a gun.
He pressed the panic button he had on him and set off a smoke alarm.
It was Nxame’s first day on duty at the Fischer’s site.
The case continues.