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Details emerge in court: How former ANC councillor allegedly hunted down and shot dead troublesome patron

By Afikile Lugunya - Jan 12, 2018
Details emerge in court: How former ANC councillor allegedly hunted down and shot dead troublesome patron

Details emerged in court on Thursday about how a former African National Congress (ANC) Councillor for Motherwell's Ward 54, 50-year-old Aaron Nyikilana, allegedly hunted down a 23-year-old man, Lindokuhle Marcus, on the 2nd of January and shot him dead in dramatic fashion for allegedly dancing on top of a table and disturbing other patrons at the former Councillor's tavern on New Year's Eve.

Nyikilana was appearing in the court for his formal bail hearing application.

While a gathering of young and old residents picketed outside the Motherwell Magistrate's Court urging the Judge not to grant the accused bail, inside State Prosecutors told the court that Nyikilana is facing a charge of premeditated murder as he allegedly waited two days before going out to look for Marcus and killing him.

However, Nyikilana's lawyers argued that he was a first-time offender.

Nyikilana stated through his attorney that if he would be granted bail, he wouldn’t break the law; he would avoid contact with any of the witnesses and said he was not guilty to the allegations.

The court also heard that in 1999, Nyikilana was arrested for beating up a person and in 2004, a charge of property damage was laid against him and he served the required time for both his charges.

The Defence then argued that both those cases happened a long time ago, and at the moment, the former Councillor doesn’t have any pending cases against him. It said those two previous convictions should not affect this case in any way, therefore he must be granted bail.

Nyikilana's lawyers also told the court that their client was not a flight risk because after the shooting of Marcus, he didn’t run, instead he went to inform the police officers and handed in his firearm, even then the police didn’t find a case against him, so took down his details and let him go before they later arrested him.

However, Prosecutors argued that a few hours later the police became aware of the shooting and was called to the Motherwell Police Station, but he claimed that he was in Grahamstown. However, a patrol vehicle saw his car in M17, so within 10 minutes of the initial call, they called him again and he stated that he was at the Motherwell Shopping Centre.

The Court heard that Nyikilana is married with four children and is currently in separation with his wife.

He apparently has been involved in a relationship of four years with another woman, who is a mother of his 2-year-old last-born child. In his marriage, he has two minor kids and a 16-year-old that was born before he got married.

Nyikilana is the co-owner of Emaqadini Tavern, which he owns with his brother.

The Defence said that he is the sole breadwinner of all his children.

He used to be the Councillor of Ward 54 in Motherwell until the 2016 Local Government Elections. Even then, there was a scuffle between him and the residents, which led to his car being burned down by the community.

'Brutal shooting'

As both Nyikilana's and Marcus' families listened, the State brought in the Investigating Officer, who narrated the police's version of what happened. Marcus' mother sat in the first row and listened attentively to how her son died.

The officer took everyone to the 2nd of January when the deceased died.

He said that at about 09:30am on Tuesday, the accused went to the house of someone, who had apparently witnessed Marcus' disturbance at the tavern on New Year's Eve, and instructed him to get inside his vehicle. Apparently, Nyikilana was not at the tavern when the disturbance happened.

The officer said the witness was scared of Nyikilana and complied. They went to the tavern where on arrival, Nyikilana apparently asked one of the employees if the witness was the one, who caused the disturbance, the employee said no.

Then Nyikilana allegedly drove off with the witness to look for Marcus and drove around Motherwell until they saw him and his two friends walking in the streets of Motherwell NU12.

Apparently, Marcus was walking a few steps back from his friends. Nyikilana allegedly stopped the vehicle and instructed Marcus to get into the car, but he refused after taking advice from his two friends that he mustn’t get inside the vehicle.

The witness, who was sitting on the passenger's seat, assured Nyikilana that it was indeed Marcus.

Nyikilana allegedly opened the door and while his left foot remained inside his vehicle fired a shot.

Marcus and his friends ran from the vehicle.

Nyikilana allegedly closed the door, rolled down his window and drove after Marcus and started shooting through his window in the direction of Marcus.

The Investigating Officer said this happened while all the three witnesses were watching.

Marcus continued to run until his friends couldn’t see him anymore as he entered a different street, and only the first witness in the car was able to witness the entire ordeal.

His friends could only imagine what had happened when they heard three successive gunshots from the distance.

According to the officer, the witness in the car said that Marcus was trying to climb over a fence as he was running away from the accused, who was still shooting at him and unfortunately, he was hit in the back by a bullet and fell down face first.

Apparently, that was when Nyikilana got out of the vehicle and went over to where Marcus laid and kicked him to see if he was dead.

He was still breathing.

The accused went back to his car and drove off with the witness to another address where he met the mother of one of Marcus' friends and asked about her son's whereabouts.

Apparently, when the mother said he was not home, Nyikilana said; “Tell him, I will shoot him like I did with his friend!”

He went back into his car and then drove off.

Later, the witness apparently told Nyikilana that he was getting off the car, and the accused dropped him off. The witness rushed to Marcus home and told his family what had happened.

They found a car and rushed to where Marcus still laid and drove him to the Motherwell Clinic where he was declared dead.

Apparently, around the same time, Nyikilana took a friend to the Motherwell Police Station where he reported what had happened and submitted his firearm.

State argued for no bail

The State argued that the Nyikilana must not receive bail since he knows the witnesses; intimidated the mother of the deceased's friend - which means witnesses could be in danger if he gets bail.

It said that the accused's life would also be in danger as angry community members have since burnt down the car allegedly used in the murder and also submitted a petition with 161 signatures asking the court not to grant him bail.

Apparently, the police forum also said that the community wanted to burn down his home and tavern.

The accused still argued that he has an alternative home in Walmer, where he can go to if the court would say that he must move out of his home in Motherwell - which the State said community members in the courtroom were now aware of.

The accused also argued that there is no proof of who burned down the car - it could have been his friends. He argued that it was untrue that Motherwell residents were angry as outside the court were around 50 people protesting while Motherwell has over 200 000 residents.

He further said that he does not fear for his life because if he did, then he wouldn’t have applied for bail in the first place. He added that over 150 000 people support him, so the court must not be held ransom by 30-50 people, who are protesting outside court.

The community

“There is no parent who gives birth to their children so that they can have their life cut off by an old person who has reached his goals, I am very saddened by this because Lindokuhle was an icon to our children,” a local resident, Nontsika Ngqizana, said outside the court.

“We are here because we want Aaron not to get bail, he must rot in jail,” Siphosethu Sokomani, who said that he was a friend of the deceased.

“I grew up with Lindokuhle, he was a nice and funny guy and when I heard that he died, I couldn’t believe it, it was very sad and painful to me,” said Magespi, who was visibly too sad to finish the sentence and walked away.

Some community members that were in the protest said that Nyikilana was a cruel man, who liked violence and if he would receive bail, as the community, they would have to plan for his future.

Whether he gets bail or not that will be decided next week Thursday.