Fifth Rattray murder accused appears in court

The fifth man arrested in connection with the murder of historian David Rattray appeared briefly in the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court on Wednesday, KwaZulu-Natal police said.

Zwelihle Mtshali (21) had his case postponed until Thursday, when he would appear in the local high court, police spokesperson Superintendent Muzi Mngomezulu said.

Advocate Candy Kander told the South African Press Association that Mtshali made his first court appearance on Wednesday in the regional court.

“He appeared in court this [Wednesday] morning and is busy consulting with his legal representative,” she said.

According to another prosecutor: “The accused indicated that he wanted to enter a guilty plea bargain but has not done that as yet.”

Police spokesperson Superintendent Muzi Mngomezulu said earlier that during his court appearance on Tuesday Mtshali had entered into a guilty plea bargain.

“Police are misunderstanding what is being heard at court,” said the prosecutor, who did not want to be named.

Mtshali was arrested on Monday afternoon. Rattray (48) was murdered in a botched robbery on January 26 this year in his Fugitive’s Drift Lodge home, near the site of the Battle of Isandlwana.

Fethe Nkwanyana (23) and Thembinkosi Ndlovu (24) both pleaded guilty and each received 25-year sentences for their part in the historian’s murder.

Thousands attended Rattray’s funeral service at Michaelhouse school in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. His murder made international headlines and brought fears of a negative fall-out in the tourism industry.

Simphiwe Ndlovu (25) and Xolani Mpanza (28) have both denied any involvement in Rattray’s murder and are still awaiting trial.

Mpanza apparently worked at the lodge previously.—Sapa



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