According to court papers, the suspects who are brothers, Lungisani Ndhlera (23), Isheunesu Ndhlera (25) and Pardon Ndhlera (25) are accused of causing the death of one Leeroy Mhlanga, who allegedly drowned in the Limpopo River while fleeing from his assailants.
Allegations against the trio arose sometime in April 2014, while they were at an illegal crossing point into South Africa along the Limpopo River known as Musheshe when they came across Mhlanga who mobilised them to cross the river and fight South African soldiers after abandoning his cartons of cigarettes across the river.
The State alleges the trio resisted the move arguing they could not fight armed soldiers with stones and their refusal prompted a heated argument which resulted in the trio attacking Mhlanga, who later ran into the Limpopo river and drowned.
However, in their bail statements, the trio denied the allegations claiming they were not to blame for Mhlanga’s death.
Pardon said on the day in question he was not at the crossing point but was in a South African hospital where he was being treated of malaria.
His brothers said that they were present when the incident occurred but denied the murder charge.
Lungisani and Isheunesu said they were part of a group of more than 30 unemployed Zimbabweans who were on their way to South Africa in search of employment on the day in question.
They said Mhlanga was the leader of a group from Harare, who were in the business of smuggling cigarettes into South Africa and on that particular day he and his crew had crossed to South Africa, where they abandoned their cartons of cigarettes after being confronted by armed South African soldiers.
They said Mhlanga and his group sought to mobilise others to cross the Limpopo River armed with stones, and fight the armed South African soldiers, but his suggestion was turned down prompting Mhlanga and his group to attack Isheunesu instead.
Isheunesu said he believed Mhlanga could have drowned while running away from the Zimbabwean police, army and immigration officials, who wanted to rescue hi