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Nelspruit - Two men who killed a man and injured another in a tavern brawl were each sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment by the Nelspruit Regional Court on Thursday.
Magistrate Andre Geldenhuys found no substantial and compelling circumstances for the court to impose lesser sentences, a Sapa correspondent reported.
Mxolisi Ngomane, 29, and Mandros Chauke, 25, both from Nyongane Trust outside White River, were arrested on August 23, 2009, in connection with the murder of Ntokozo Mngomezulu and the attempted murder of Moses Malinga.
The men were involved in a fight at the National Tavern in Nyongane Trust.
Ngomane was also sentenced to six years' imprisonment for the attempted murder of Malinga, to run concurrently with the murder sentence. Ngomane and Chauke pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Geldenhuys said Chauke had started the fight.
“Liquor and Ngomane also played a role in fuelling the fight,” he said.
“Ngomane joined in the fight trying to protect his friend. He broke bottles and threw crates around. He then stabbed the deceased with a broken beer bottle.”
Geldenhuys said that when Malinga separated Chauke and Mngomezulu, Ngomane stabbed him in the back.
“When he turned to flee, he again stabbed him twice in his back.”
Chauke stabbed Mngomezulu in the neck with a broken beer bottle.
The two ran away, and were arrested at Ngomane's home.
Geldenhuys said taverns were meant to be places for entertainment, but that fights always broke out.
“If courts do not impose proper sentences for such offenders, the community will take the law into their own hands,” he said.