Cop killer Luyanda Fuzile has been sentenced to an effective 25 years behind bars after he convinced the court that he did not pull the trigger of the gun that killed a police officer and injured another, but was convicted of the crimes through common purpose.
Fuzile and four co-accused faced a slew of charges including murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and kidnapping after the murder of Sergeant Nametso Molema, who was stationed at Table View SAPS, and the wounding of his colleague, Malibongwe Mnani, in November 2021.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) provincial spokesperson Eric Ntabazalla said Fuzile was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment for Molema’s murder, 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, five for kidnapping, five for attempted murder, 15 years for illegal possession of a firearm and two years for illegal possession of ammunition, bringing his total sentence to 67 years.
“The court ordered all the sentences to run concurrently with the sentence imposed for the murder,” Ntabazalla said.
The sentence follows Fuzile’s decision to enter into a plea and sentencing agreement with the State in which he confessed to his role in the crimes.
In October 2021, he and four accomplices met and planned to rob GR Spices in Killarney Gardens, Table View.
“On the morning of November 26, 2021, they entered the spice shop pretending to be looking for work.When the owner, Christopher Green, and employee, Rozande Scheffer, told them there was no work and demanded that they leave, they took out firearms, pointed them at the two and ordered Green to lie down.
“One of them searched him and found a firearm and R1 000. They also found R80 000 in his bag and a laptop from his office. They then demanded to know where the safe was, found it and ordered Green to open it as they realised they needed a code to open it,” Ntabazalla said.
They then noticed police and security guards who were called by other employees, were outside the shop.
“The robbers shoved firearms in the backs of Green and Scheffer and forced them to accompany them to a shutter door, which was then opened.
“As police demanded they surrender, they started shooting at the police and security guards while using Green and Scheffer as human shields. The police and security guards could not shoot back.
“Fuzile and two of his accomplices managed to flee, while another co-accused who remained behind shot and killed Molema and shot and wounded Mnani,” Ntabazalla said
Fuzile was later arrested in Du Noon with money in his possession believed to be taken from Green.
Fuzile accepted criminal liability but told the court that he did not fire the shot that killed Molema.
Senior State advocate Aradhana Heeramun told the court that attacks on law enforcement officials was egregious and had become particularly prevalent.
“The robbery and murder were planned and premeditated. The murder is a foreseeable consequence of the accused’s actions.”
Heeramun said that the parties agreed that the personal circumstances of the accused, mitigating factors, time spent in jail since his arrest, and his willingness to take responsibility for his role in the crimes, should be taken cumulatively to be substantial and compelling circumstances which “justify a departure from the prescribed minimum sentence of life imprisonment for the murder”.
Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) said that although the sentence appeared hefty, the perpetrator could still be eligible for parole in the next coming years.
Popcru provincial secretary Pat Raolane said that the killings of police officers reflects on the State’s failure to protect them
“The Constitution is quite specific that everybody has a right to life, and those who kill should be taken away from society.
The 25 years for the murder is not fair enough, he should rot in jail ...”