Mob justice group sentenced to a collective term of 2 000 years
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Cape Town - After mammoth legal proceeds that spanned nearly seven years, a vigilante group of 14 Kraaifontein men have been sentenced to almost 2 000 years imprisonment after six people were kidnapped, murdered and their bodies dumped in a field.
Tsepo Mathabela, Mncedisi Nditha, Ayanda Gwarubani, Montile Tyokwe, Ayanda Koni, Khaya Booi, Luvo Maqolo, Khanyile Paul, Thandisiwe Manise, Lindani Cetywayo, Sibongile Paul, Lunga Zilwa, Siphiwo Zilwa and Fumanekela Paul were sentenced to 1 840 years imprisonment collectively.
This case dates back to December 2014 when six men – Zola Gayiya, Emanuel Barnes, Sandile Ngxabela, Sakhele Ngxabela, Lulama Dunga and Mhlanganisi Mljanjeni – were kidnapped in Wallacedene.
They were murdered after being accused of robbing and killing Tsutsutsu Ntsundu while he was on his way home from work.
From Engcobo in the Eastern Cape, Ntsundu was a security guard. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said he was targeted for his firearm.
The NPA said the accused decided to take the law into their own hands and kidnapped the men before taking them to a field in Joostenbergvlakte where they were stoned, stabbed and left for dead.
Their bodies were discovered with their hands and feet bound.
When the Cape Times visited the scene in 2014, it found police recovering a number of objects. Next to the bodies, face down, were several bloodied rocks.
Bangikhaya Koni and Monwabisi Siyeko, the leaders of those accused, faced trial in February 2018.
Koni entered into a plea and sentencing agreement with the State and was sentenced to six life terms for the murders and 30 years imprisonment for the kidnappings.
Siyeko was acquitted of all charges.
Mathabela, Gwarubani, Tyokwe, Koni, Booi, Maqolo, (Khanyile) Paul, Manise, Cetywayo, (Sibongile) Paul, (Lunga) Zilwa, (Siphiwo) Zilwa and (Fumanekela) Paul were each sentenced to 150 years imprisonment.
The court ordered that the sentences of each of the accused should run concurrently, effectively sentencing each to 20 years imprisonment.
“These murders amounted to what is commonly known as a vigilante killing. The deceased were first tortured for hours before they were eventually loaded into a vehicle and driven to another scene where they were brutally stoned and stabbed to death.
“They were defenceless at the time of their deaths due to their legs and arms being tied behind their backs. They were then left naked like animals and were only discovered the following morning,” senior state advocate John Reyneveld said.
Western Cape acting director of public prosecutions, Advocate Nicolette Bell, welcomed the sentence and appealed to communities to refrain from taking the law into their own hands.
Meanwhile, police said Harare SAPS made a breakthrough when they arrested three suspects allegedly involved in a vigilantism murder, after the body of a 29-year-old male was found along Baden Powell Road next to Monwabisi Beach with multiple wounds on Wednesday.
“Information received was that he was beaten to death by a group of people who accused him of stealing,” police spokesperson FC van Wyk said.
“Police launched a manhunt for those who were allegedly involved. Informers assisted the police. Two suspects were arrested a few hours after the incident and another in the early hours of (Wednesday) morning.
“All three suspects, aged 26, 28 and 39, were arrested and detained on charges of murder.”