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Two former police reservists stood stone-faced when they were convicted on Monday of murdering a Durban colleague.
Pretty Khuzwayo and Thabani Mchunu were convicted in the Pietermaritzburg High Court of the murder of police reservist, Sergeant Mandla Thusi, after an armed robbery at a Durban police station in which 15 guns were stolen.
Mchunu and Khuzwayo, with Petros Thulani Sithole, were also convicted of robbery with aggravating circumstances.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges, however Judge Jacqui Henriques convicted the trio, concluding the State had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.
Judge Henriques ruled that confessions made by both Mchunu and Khuzwayo – which were at the centre of a trial-within-a-trial for many weeks – were admissible as evidence.
Counsel for the accused had argued that Mchunu was assaulted by police before making his confession, while Khuzwayo’s advocate argued that her confession was not enough to convict her as there was no other corroborating evidence implicating her in the crime.
Henriques, however, found that the confessions made by the accused were deposed lawfully and that the documents constituted evidence against them.
Mchunu and Khumalo were stationed at the joint SAPS/ metro police centre at Boscombe Terrace on the Durban beachfront when they were charged with Thusi’s murder.
Mchunu, Khuzwayo and Sithole conspired to steal guns from the police station.
Thusi, who was at the station when it was robbed, had identified Sithole during an identity parade and was to be a key witness in the case.
The group then decided to kill him and he was gunned down at his home in May 2009. Thusi was shot 10 times.
June Rose Dlamini, who was also arrested and charged with the accused, was convicted in May 2009 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Arguments in mitigation and aggravation of sentence were to begin on Tuesday.