On the day that Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) student Zolile Khumalo was shot and killed, her boyfriend Thabani Mzolo warned her that her “cleverness” would be the end of their relationship.
“You always say, ‘Till death do us part’ – and today your cleverness will be the end of our relationship … because I could not get hold of you on the phone,” he told her at the time.
Mzolo took the stand on Monday in the Durban high court, where he is accused of her murder, as well as charges pertaining to the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition.
He told the court that he had gone to Khumalo’s South Beach residence on that fateful evening and had uttered those words because he had not been able to reach her all day. He was signed into the residence by a friend who stayed there.
“I was joking when I said that, but my manner could have been interpreted as serious,” he told the court.
“We knocked on the door and Zolile opened. I sat at the table and she went back to the chair she had been sitting on. She said, ‘Here come the people we least expected.’
“She asked, ‘How are you, baby?’ and I said, ‘Don’t call me baby – call me a dog because I have been looking for you, sniffing like a dog because I could not get hold of you on the phone.”
Khumalo died on the floor in her room at Lonsdale Residence in May 2018 as a result of gunshot wounds to her head and chest. Mzolo was arrested shortly after.
In court on Monday, Mzolo had his gaze fixed in one place as he claimed that their relationship had been a happy one.
“It was a good relationship, like most relationships. The way I loved her, our love grew every day. I fell in love every day. She told me she loved me more than she did her parents,” he said.
Mzolo’s testimony was interrupted by load-shedding and is expected to continue later in the day.