Life sentences for Pretoria killers

Pretoria - Two men who shot dead a Pretoria businessman outside his home were sentenced to life imprisonment by the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

Simon Mabena, 29, and Hammanskraal mechanic Lesiba Kgaledi Mabitsela, 28, were sentenced for the April 2010 murder of 57-year-old businessman Dave Bye.

Bye, a former aircraft electronics expert who owned two butcheries in Ga-Rankuwa, was shot dead in a struggle with them. They had been waiting for him outside his house.

They fled when one of the neighbours in Bye's complex activated an alarm.

Mabena, who has an illness, complained about the treatment he was receiving in prison, but Judge Bert Bam said this did not provide a compelling reason to deviate from the prescribed life sentence.

He said both men had maintained their innocence and had shown no remorse.

Bye's wife, children and grandchild had been traumatised by his death and had had to receive psychological counselling.

His two butcheries in Ga-Rankuwa had to close down and his employees lost their jobs.

Bam said Mabena and Mabitsela had undoubtedly intended to rob someone and had “programmed themselves to kill”.

They had shown Bye no mercy and had ended his life without any remorse.

Bam said society was at the mercy of the hands of criminals who killed others randomly and had no respect for human life.

He said the two were dangerous criminals who should be permanently removed from society.

Bye's wife Adreen said she was satisfied that justice had been done, but believed her husband's killers would get their true punishment from God.

She said her husband had died in their youngest son's arms after he called her at the office to tell her he had been shot.

She had since moved to a more secure complex. - Sapa