Collins Chabane mayor murderers sentenced to life imprisonment

The five men accused of murdering Collins Chabane Municipality mayor Moses Maluleke in 2022, have been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment at the Limpopo High Court in Polokwane.

Aged between 32 and 56, Shumani Nemadodzi, Avhatakali Isaac Mudau, Wiseman Baloyi, Tshianeo Munyai and Pfunzo Lidzebe were sentenced on the following charges: conspiracy to commit murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, attempted murder, and possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

Reward for information

Limpopo police had initially offered a reward of up to R250 000 for any information that could lead to the arrest and conviction of the suspects.

Police have not yet revealed whether this has been or will be paid out.

The 56-year-old was gunned down in his home in Saselamani Village, while his son was also shot and wounded.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi said the accused gained access to the premises of the deceased in the evening and shot him while Maluleke was with his 18-year-old son, and his cellphone was taken.

“The court accepted the evidence of a key witness who was used by the state in terms of Section 204 of Act 51 of 1977,” Malabi-Dzhangi said.

“The court found that the witness testified frankly and honestly. This witness implicated himself, all the accused persons and other unknown people in the commission of these offences.”

The court found that the state has proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused at all times were acting in the furtherance of a common purpose and that the offences committed by the accused were planned.

In mitigation of the sentence, Nemadodzi called his wife to mitigate on his behalf.

She pleaded with the court not to impose life imprisonment so that he would be able to continue to take care of his second-born child, who was diagnosed with cancer and heart disease.

Mudau, Baloyi, Munyai and Lidzebe also pleaded with the court not to impose life imprisonment and pleaded for leniency, as they would want to take care of their families.

“The defence lawyer pleaded with the court to have mercy on them and deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence,” Malabi-Dzhangi said.

Family fears for their lives

During sentencing, Senior State Advocate Eric Mabapa called on Rhangeleni Mambre Maluleke, the wife of the deceased mayor Maluleke.

She told the court that, as a result of this incident, their doors and gates are always locked, fearing for their lives.

“The deceased was a generous person who would assist anyone who was in need in the community. She is struggling to manage the family household,” Malabi-Dzhangi added.

“Her son Ntokoto is not well and remains suffering, lodged with a bullet under his kidney. She pleaded with the court to impose life imprisonment on all the accused.”

Murder serious and prevalent

Mabapa argued that the sentence should be retributive and deterrent because of the seriousness of the crime and the prevalence thereof.

He further argued that there are no substantial and compelling circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence.

He said the offences were committed out of greed, and the interests of society should be considered.

The Deputy Judge President Matsaro Violet Semenya sentenced all accused to life imprisonment for murder, 10 years for attempted murder, 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, and 5 years each for unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.

The sentence will run concurrently with life imprisonment, and the court further ordered that all accused be declared unfit to possess a firearm.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Ivy Thenga, welcomed the sentence and said she hopes the family finds closure.

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