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Tonga - Six people accused of assaulting three elderly people during a dispute over chieftaincy were given a suspended sentence in the Tonga Magistrate's Court on Thursday.
A seventh accused, Sandile Masuku, died last month, a Sapa correspondent reported.
The six are Zuka Ndlovu, 68, Jabulani Nkomo, 43, Zanele Masuku, 27, Agrineth Masuku, 25, Xolani Ngwenya, 25, and Sizane Khoza, 24, all from Sibayeni village near the Swaziland and Mozambican border in Mpumalanga.
They were found guilty of assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm.
“I am finding all of you guilty of the charges because all the witnesses identified you in the court box without any hesitation,” said magistrate Sam Nkuna.
Nkuna warned that no issues could be solved by violence.
“You were supposed to sit down and resolve the matter without any fight. Please respect each other,” he said.
Ndlovu was sentenced to 120 days imprisonment or a fine of R1200 which was suspended for three years.
The other five were given the same sentence, except they had to pay R400 immediately, or spend 40 days in prison.
Defence lawyer Sipho Sibiya pleaded for the five to be given some time to raise the R400.
Nkuna agreed and extended the deadline to 2pm on July 4.
The seven accused, including the late Sandile Masuku, had all pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
They were arrested on May 4 last year after they were accused of using stones, sjamboks, iron pipes and fists to assault five elderly men at a meeting about the chieftaincy at Siboshwa tribal authority offices in Sibayeni village.
Initially, 10 people were arrested, but Gebu Masuku, 70, his son Selby Masuku, 25, and Xolani Ngwenya, 25, were acquitted in April when they could not be linked to the case.