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Nelspruit - A woman convicted of playing a role in her brother's murder was sentenced to life imprisonment and an additional 18 years in the Nelspruit Circuit of the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.
Belinah Maluka, who was 63 when the crime was committed in 2011, was sentenced with her co-accused, Louis Mlungisi Given Msibi, 28, and Surprise Sibusiso Nzima, 25, a Sapa correspondent reported.
Their co-accused, Percy Dube, 23, turned State witness after confessing to the crime, for which he received a 20-year prison term.
The three were convicted of robbing Julia Dories Mashabane and killing her husband, traditional healer Richard Philip Manikela, 53.
Manikela was shot dead at his home in Phathwa Trust on the morning of July 22, 2011.
Judge Mmonoa Teffo said evidence showed Maluka met Dube to arrange a robbery at her brother's house.
“That was when she told him (Dube) her brother was keeping an amount of R3 million in cash inside his house,” she said.
“Prior to the murder, Maluka then met with Dube, Msibi, Nzima and a fourth suspect, Steven, who was not before court, at her house, where the robbery was planned.”
Teffo said the group initially planned to scare Manikela, using an electric iron and masking tape, rather than kill him.
Manikela's hands and feet were tied and his mouth was sealed with masking tape. He was tortured with the iron in an effort to compel him to give them the money.
Teffo said Nzima then went into Manikela's bedroom, where Dube was demanding the money from Manikela's wife.
“He saw the deceased's pump-action shotgun with ammunition inside the safe, took it and went to the kitchen and shot Manikela, who died as they watched.”
The men stole the gun, ammunition, a cellphone, money, and fled in Manikela's car.
“The robbers followed on Maluka's information. The deceased's family regarded her as their sister, sister-in-law, and aunt. They felt safe in her hands,” Teffo said.
“Out of greed, Maluka abused that relationship with the family. She became evil and planned the robbery, which ultimately resulted in Manikela's death. There are no compelling and substantial circumstances for a lesser sentence for Maluka.
“The torture, using a plugged and hot iron was cruel and brutal. Where have you seen a human being ironed?”
Teffo sentenced each of the three to life imprisonment for the murder, and 15 years for the armed robbery.
Maluka and Msibi each got an additional three years for possession of an unlawful firearm. Nzima received another six years for possession of two unlawful firearms and ammunition. The sentences would run consecutively.