State to call 33 witnesses in Sadia Sukhraj murder
The State is expected to call 33 witnesses to testify in the case of the murder of Sadia Sukhraj, 9, who was killed in a botched hijacking in May this year, the Durban Magistrate's Court heard on Thursday.
The only suspect in the matter, Sibonelo Mkhize, 35, will appear in the High Court in Durban on November 19 with the State poised to call the witnesses.
He faces charges of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances. The only other assailant, Siyabonga Bulose, was killed as the duo attempted to flee from the crime scene.
Mkhize was nabbed by an off-duty police officer a short distance from the home of Sadia's grandparents.
She and her father had stopped at her grandparents' shortly before she headed to school.
The State says that this is when Mkhize and Bulose pounced, robbing and hijacking her father, Shalendra.
Claims of police brutality
"They were armed and demanded the car keys from her father at gunpoint. He threw the keys at them and they boarded the vehicle. Whilst both were fleeing the scene with his daughter inside, he (Shalendra) fired several gunshots toward the driver with his licensed firearm," court papers said.
Sadia was taken to a nearby hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.
"Her cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest. Bulose died immediately after the car came to a stop. His cause of death was described as penetrating gunshot wound to the pelvis," said the State.
Mkhize has been confined to Westville prison since his arrest.
He previously claimed police beat him, but prosecutor Surekha Marimuthoo disputed this and countered that Mkhize sustained his injuries from a beating at the hands of members of the public during his arrest.
Sadia's death garnered massive public attention.
Thousands of mourners attended the 9-year-old's emotional funeral on a rainy May day at the Christian Revival Centre.
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