THE man accused of robbing a Bluewater Bay optometrist and former Mr South Africa finalist told the Port Elizabeth High Court he was "frozen in shock” when his drinking companion suddenly shot at a vehicle in Njoli Street, Kwazakhele.
Zola Njara pleaded not guilty to four charges of robbery.
Earlier in the trial, Mncedisi Mapuma told the court how he was shot in the face and blinded in one eye in a violent attack that ended his modelling career in the early hours of June 21 2008.
A notorious gangster in the area, Thabang Jaftha, was charged with being the gunman and with raping one of the passengers in Mapuma’s vehicle. Charges against him were withdrawn after he was killed in October 2010.
Njara, 29, is only charged with four counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances.
He told the court yesterday that on the day of the incident he left work at 10pm and "decided to have some fun”. He ended up in a tavern with Jaftha. In the early hours of the morning, they walked home together.
"I noticed a red car. It was parked on the pavement. As we came closer, Thabang [Jaftha] took out a firearm and shot the window on the driver’s side. He opened the driver’s door. The driver got out. Thabang said nothing. He just shot the man in the head.
"I just stood there ... As I was still in a state of shock, Thabang turned to the other side of the car. I could not see what he was doing there. When I came to my senses. I walked over to him to tell him I was leaving. He was busy raping a girl. I could not see her face.
"I heard my name. One of the girls asked me not to hurt them.” He said he then realised he knew one of the girls.
"Thabang ... took the girl with him when we ran away ... When we left her, Thabang instructed her: ‘You don’t know Zola.’
"I never robbed anybody. I never helped Thabang,” Njara said. The trial continues.