Life imprisonment for ANC chief whip killers

By Simbongile Mdledle

The high court of South Africa sitting in Cacadu court has sentenced Thembisile Sixakaza (32), Mnonneleli Mpusu and Mawande Dlephu to life imprisonment after convicting them for the murder of Sakhisizwe Local Municipality politician and Community Services Manager Thanduxolo Nobhongoza.

Nobhongoza was the Chief-Whip of the African National Congress(ANC) in the municipality comprising of Cala and Khowa districts. He was shot and killed in broad daylight near his home in Cala Extension One, on November 29, 2018. The former Chief Traffic Officer at the municipality, Loyiso Nyembe, who is believed to have been the mastermind of the plot to kill Nobhongoza was arrested and charged with the three hitmen. However, he died during the course of the trial due to ill-health.

Nyembe had been accused of fraud and corruption in a different case relating to the illegal sale of drivers’ licences. That case put him on a collision course with Nobhongoza, and he decided to kill him. The court heard that he organized the three hitmen from his hometown of Qumbu. Having agreed to proceed with Nyembe’s wish, they all organized firearms loaded with live rounds of ammunition in pursuit of their plan.

On the day of the commission of the crime, the men drove to Khowa to meet with Nyembe, before proceeding to Cala where they found the deceased walking towards his home and fatally shot him in full view of the community members. Nyembe and Sixakaza were granted bail after appealing to the High Court, while out on bail, Sixakaza was arrested for another robbery with aggravating circumstances case committed in Dutywa, a day before his appearance in court on 30 August this year.

During the trial, they all pleaded not guilty but admitted having been in Cala on that day to fetch a car from Nyembe. Among witnesses led by Senior State Advocate Ndoyisile Lamla is the middleman who pointed out Nobhongoza to the hitmen. He was granted immunity in accordance with Section 204 of the Criminal Procedure Act. The trio was convicted on charges of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, for which it sentenced them to seven years but ordered that it run concurrently with the life sentence.


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