Durban – Moments before Mohamed Yusuf Janoo Joosab was stabbed to death on a bridge on the M13 near the Westwood Mall, a passer-by tried to warn the MTN employee about the impending danger.
In the Durban High Court on Monday, Khoase Leonard Mphuthi testified that he was robbed by the same two men a month earlier, and when he saw Joosab walk towards them, he tried to alert him.
Mphuthi was testifying against Gamalihle Mdaladla, 27, who is charged with murder and three counts of robbery.
Last November, Joosab, an MTN sales manager, was walking to the mall where he worked when he was attacked and stabbed 12 times.
A month later, Mdaladla was arrested by investigating officer Sulaiman Charles and members of the dog unit at the informal settlement in Kennedy Road.
The second suspect has not been found.
Mphuthi said that in October 2017 his car was due for a service, so he arranged to travel with a colleague.
“He agreed to pick me up from the M13 by the bridge. As I approached the bridge, I noticed two men standing. I walked past them, and one of the men (Mdaladla) grabbed my neck from behind and pointed a gun to my stomach. The second man was standing on the other side with a knife pointed at me.
“I wrestled the guy with the gun to push it away from me, but when he said in Zulu, he would shoot me, I immediately stopped.”
Mphuthi said Mdaladla reached into this pocket and took his cellphone and wallet. He testified that he managed to push away the accused and ran to a garage for help.
A month later, on November 21, 2018, while again waiting for his friend to pick him up from the area, he claimed to have seen the same two men.
“I slowed down and stared at them.
“Two women had just got off a taxi and were passing them, and I saw the accused (Mdaladla) waving his gun at them to move quicker. Then I saw an Indian boy walking from the garage toward the bridge. I tried to scream at this guy to go back, but he could not hear me.”
He said he watched as they approached Joosab, who ended up in a tussle with them.
“The guy tried to jump the Indian boy, but the boy grabbed him, and they began wrestling. By then, the second man with the knife approached to assist his friend, and the men fell to the ground into a tree. I walked to go help the Indian boy and saw a Mercedes-Benz stop and the driver was also running to assist with a gun in his hand.”
He said as they got nearer, the men were on top of Joosab and upon seeing them, fled through a fence.
“They also turned towards me, and I knew for sure it was the same men who robbed me. I saw them run in the veld between the M13 and called my colleague, who was on his way to fetch me. I said the guys who robbed me just robbed an Indian boy, and he needed to do something.”
Using the description of their clothing, his colleague, Nkosinathi Shange, recorded a video of them in the bushes. The footage was played in court.
Mphuthi also pointed to Mdaladla in court, saying he was the man who robbed him and “who killed the young Indian boy”.
On Tuesday, Shange testified that he saw two men running and videoed them. While doing this, he said Mdaladla saw him, stopped, and they made eye contact.
During cross-examination, Mdaladla’s attorney argued that his client claimed he was walking alone.
To this, Shange said: “I saw both of them. They were walking together. They crossed the street together and walked together on the grass as well.”
Joan Lynche, 63, who also claimed to be Mdaladla’s victim, testified that he grabbed her by the neck and held a knife near her chest.
“He said I will kill you three time and nobody would find my body,” said Lynche, who added that he tore her grocery bag.
“He stood at the freeway swinging my bag around in the air I thought to myself, I could be your mother, your grandmother, how can you treat me like this?”
She said although the ordeal, on Women’s Day last August, was quick, she believed she was going to die and underwent counselling.
“For months I could not sleep because I had this man’s face in my mind He just ruined my day. I was planing to go out with my family but I was too distraught.”
The trial continues.