DURBAN - THE year 2021 will be characterised by two court matters that were intertwined and dominated headlines. The Daily News recaps them and other cases featured in our publication.
First, former president Jacob Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in jail for contempt of court for refusing to comply with a ruling compelling him to appear before the commission of inquiry into state capture.
His imprisonment in July, at Estcourt Correctional Services in KwaZulu-Natal, caused a stir and led to unrest and looting as his supporters called for his release.
Zuma was released on medical parole in September and the DA, the Helen Suzman Foundation and AfriForum turned to the high court to challenge the decision by Correctional Services national commissioner Arthur Fraser to grant Zuma medical parole.
Zuma has appealed a ruling to have his parole revoked and for his return to jail, and it is heading to the Supreme Court of Appeal after the North Gauteng High Court granted him leave to challenge its decision. The courts have not decided on a date as yet for 2022.
Secondly, after the July unrest, the suburb of Phoenix, north of Durban, recorded 36 deaths. On July 12, community members in Phoenix set up blockades and patrolled the neighbourhood streets after the start of mass looting in Durban. Some people in the community set up armed checkpoints at strategic access points to the area. However, the situation rapidly deteriorated when people operating the checkpoints allegedly turned to vigilantism. Brothers Ned and Dylan Govender, were charged with the murder of Mondli Majola, 19, in Phoenix.
After a lengthy bail application in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court, they were denied bail and will remain in custody at the Department of Correctional Services, Westville, until their next court appearance on January 22.
The case received attention because the legal team disputed the state’s evidence that Majola had been shot. Two pathology reports were handed in to the court. One stated that Majola died of a stab wound, and after the body was exhumed it was stated that Majola died of a gunshot wound.
In November, Nadeem Arshad, 39, was sentenced to 18 years direct imprisonment by the Durban Specialised Commercial Crime Court for 27 counts of fraud and money laundering.
Hawks provincial spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo said that before his arrest in March 2016, Arshad deposited cheques of two businesses that were closed in 2015 into an ATM and transferred cash into bank accounts. The bank discovered that those cheques of R11.4 million were invalid and a case of fraud was reported at the Berea police station. Arshad was also ordered to pay back R4.1m.
The corruption trial involving former eThekwini mayor, Zandile Gumede and 21 others will be heard in March 29 in the Durban High Court. The trial started in early 2019 when the Hawks pounced on Gumede and others, accusing them of pocketing bribes after issuing a R320m waste contract in 2017. In its docket, the State alleges that Gumede, former city manager Sipho Nzuza and others were involved in a criminal enterprise to fleece the eThekwini metro of money.
Almost three years after Miguel Louw was kidnapped and killed, the man responsible for his death was jailed for 25 years by the Durban High Court in May. Mohammed Vahed Ebrahim, 46, was sentenced to 25 years for the premeditated murder of Miguel. He was also convicted for 8 years on the kidnapping charge and 18 months for theft.
Miguel was reported missing in July 2018. He was last seen at an eatery near his Sydenham home with Ebrahim. Miguel’s body was found in bushes in Phoenix near Ebrahim’s home.