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Nelspruit - A man convicted of killing two brothers was sentenced to in effect 50 years in prison by the Nelspruit Circuit of the High Court in Pretoria on Friday.
A Sapa correspondent reported that Jabulani Elvis Maseko, 29, from KaNyamazane near Nelspruit, was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of Jabulani and Mangaliso Mathabatha, from Zwelisha outside White River, on August 7 last year.
He was also sentenced to 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, two years for possession of ammunition and five years for possession of an unlicensed firearm.
The two life sentences would run consecutively. The other three counts would run concurrently.
Maseko was originally charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. The murder charges and a robbery charge were added in December.
He pleaded not guilty but admitted to owning the firearm used in the crime.
In imposing the sentence on Friday, Judge Daisy Molefe said Maseko deserved a harsh sentence.
“There are no compelling circumstances for a lesser sentence, as you [Maseko] did not show any remorse,” she said.
“You should have shown something for the court to decide on a lesser sentence. From the onset, you showed no remorse. It only came from your defence.”
She said Maseko had walked the streets with an unlicensed firearm and had used it to rob people and to kill two people in cold blood in the safety of their own home.
“The brutality of murder is too regular in the country. It should come to an end.”
Molefe described the murders as shocking to the community and the Mathabatha family.
“As the father, Dumisa Mathabatha, has testified, the death has left the family in great shock,” she said.
“He said the family still feels unsafe even now, as Maseko has failed to disclose the full names of his friends who were with him during the commission of the crime.”
Molefe said three police officers testified that Maseko's two accomplices in a gun possession case had told them the three firearms used in the crime were being kept at Maseko's house.
On Thursday, Molefe said when the policemen went with Maseko to his home, he led them to a sangoma's hut where they found only one firearm hidden inside a black plastic packet under a bowl.
“The police officers also found the firearm's magazine with two bullets inside it. A third bullet was still in the firearm's chamber and the serial number of the firearm had been rubbed off,” she said.
Molefe did not believe that Maseko was assaulted or influenced by the policemen to reveal the whereabouts of the weapon.
“According to evidence, the weapon was pointed [out] to the officers by yourself [Maseko] voluntarily,” she said.
“They said you admitted having only one firearm, not three as your accomplices had mentioned.”
The judge said ballistic tests confirmed that the gun was the one used to kill the Mathabatha brothers.
“Exhibits from the ballistic report revealed that the two deceased were shot with the same weapon,” said the judge.
“The tests revealed that the cartridges found at the crime scene were found to have been fired from the same 9mm Z88 pistol found in your [Maseko's] possession.”