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Mbombela - A 63-year-old woman has been found guilty of playing a role in her brother's murder, a Sapa correspondent reported on Wednesday.
Belinah Maluka and her co-accused Louis Mlungisi Given Msibi, 26, and Surprise Sibusiso Nzima, 25, were found guilty by the Nelspruit Circuit of the High Court in Pretoria on Wednesday.
They were accused of robbing Julia Dories Mashabane and killing her husband Richard Philip Manikela, 53, who was shot dead at his home in Phathwa Trust on the morning of July 22, 2011.
The three had pleaded not guilty to various charges ranging from murder, and conspiracy to commit murder, to robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery possession of unlawful firearms and ammunition.
Their co-accused, Percy Dube, 23, turned State witness after confessing to the crime, and received a 20-year prison term.
Passing judgment on Wednesday, Judge Mmonoa Teffo said it was clear enough that Maluka planned the robbery.
It was agreed between them that a firearm be there to scare Manikela and get an amount of R3 million, which was believed to be hidden at his house.
“As a single witness, we relied on (Dube’s) evidence in relation to what transpired and who was involved. In order to lead to a successful confession, evidence must be clear and satisfactory in every material at hand,” Teffo said.
Teffo said Dube was a credible witness.
“The role Dube played in (searching for) the R3m was never shaken by the defence. His evidence was corroborated by the deceased's wife, Mashabane, who said four young men arrived at her house.”
The judge said Dube testified he was with Msibi and Nzima in all instances, and that he knew Maluka well as someone who sold dagga.
She said Dube's evidence agreed with that of Mduduzi Nkosi, who gave Msibi and Steven accommodation on the night of July 21.
Teffo agreed that Maluka and her co-accused had not planned for the murder, but said they should have foreseen the shooting because they had a firearm.
“Evidence indicates they all did not use their own firearm as there was no resistance. Dube and Msibi saw the deceased's pump-action shotgun inside the safe in the house, but did not take it. It shows no murder was planned.”
Teffo said everything pointed to Nzima, who took Manikela's shotgun from the safe and shot him.
She said that although there was no plan to burn Manikela with a hot iron or to shoot him while they searched for the money, they were all responsible.
“Dube also explained how Msibi and Nzima took turns in burning him with the iron. That was seconded by Mashabane. That could have also killed him. I am satisfied they worked in common purpose and they are all guilty.”
Teffo found them all guilty of murder and robbery. She also found Nzima guilty of possession of two unlicensed firearms and ammunition, and Maluka and Msibi guilty of possession of one firearm.
The shotgun taken from Manikela's house was later recovered from Piet Nkosi, 30, who told the police it was given to him by Msibi a few days after the murder. Piet Nkosi was given amnesty for testifying.
Teffo postponed the trial to Thursday for sentencing.