ONE day he was happily driving away in his taxi, the next he was sitting behind bars accused of murder.
It was a murder, said Nndateni Mulaudzi (43), he knew nothing about. Ten years later the Supreme Court of Appeal has found that the court erred in that it relied mostly on the evidence of the first accused who had implicated Mulaudzi. The court asked for him to be set free!
From day one, Nndateni from Ha Budeli outside Thohoyandou maintained that he was innocent, but no one believed him.
He was arrested and accused of having robbed councillor and school principal Shavhani Ramusetheli.
Ramusetheli was gunned down at his home at Tshavhalovhedzi. Nndateni was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder and 10 years for robbery.
At the time of his conviction Nndateni had applied for leave to appeal but his application was turned down. He did not give up and, with the help of his family, started a process to take his case directly to the Supreme Court of Appeal. On 6 May, 10 years later, the Supreme Court found in his favour.
Although happy at his newly acquired freedom, Nndateni is a broken man. He has lost everything, including his wife and children. Nndateni said he was weighing his options as to what step to take next.
“This is not the end. They have to pay for keeping me in jail for so many years,” he said.
His mother Joyce Mulaudzi (62) said it pained her when her son was arrested.
“I knew him to be a good boy who provided for us from his earnings as a taxi driver,” said the mother who now supports him with her grant.