Get IOL's cool new iPad app...
Pietermaritzburg - A man who admitted his gang dragged an Ethiopian salesman to death was jailed in effect for 25 years by the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday.
Siyabonga Mtshali, 24, pleaded guilty to the murder and aggravated robbery of Thomas Emarat Ebamo.
Acting Judge Igna Stretch found that the murder was a savage act of xenophobia. But she found substantial and compelling circumstances that justified a more lenient sentence than the prescribed life sentence for murder.
Stretch imposed 20 years for the murder and 10 years for robbing Ebambo, with five years to run concurrently with the murder term.
One of the factors in his favour was that Mtshali undertook to testify against his brother Cyprian, who is accused of the same crimes.
Another factor in his favour was that he pointed out Ebamo's body to the police 10 days after the murder.
The body was hidden in a drain and covered with branches.
Stretch said Mtshali was capable of rehabilitation and despite a very limited education had got a job with a big supermarket.
In his guilty plea, Mtshali said an acquaintance told him he wanted to steal a foreigner's car.
Ebamo was duped into following them to a plantation on the pretext that he would be paid.
He was overpowered and tied up. A seatbelt was used to tie his neck to his own vehicle.
He was dragged around and when the driver stopped he was dead. - Sapa