Johannes Sekoati, a supervisor at eThekwini Municipality who was expected to testify in a disciplinary hearing for one of his colleagues, was shot dead in 2015.
Johannes Sekoati, a supervisor at eThekwini Municipality who was expected to testify in a disciplinary hearing for one of his colleagues, was shot dead in 2015.

eThekwini employee gets 20 years for murdering his boss

By SNE MASUKU Time of article published Jul 4, 2018

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Durban - The wife of slain eThekwini Municipality supervisor Johannes Sekoati said that she felt vindicated by the guilty verdict and 20-year prison sentence handed down to his killer in the Durban High Court on Monday, because many people in her community had accused her of ordering a hit on her husband.

Thamsanqa Leornado Njisane, 39, an employee at the eThekwini Municipality’s parks and recreation department, was convicted of killing his supervisor.

Sekoati was ambushed in Inanda by Njisane, whom he was expected to testify against in a disciplinary hearing.

His wife, Nolundi, wept tears of joy and told the Daily News outside the Durban High Court that the sentence was not only justice for her family, but it was the kind of justice that would clear her name in the community.

Sekoati was a popular member of the Inanda community and his death was a shock, and resulted in a number of conspiracy theories, including an allegation that his wife was behind it.

“It has been the hardest three years of my life. I survived through the support of my family. People in the community said the most painful things at the time when I was supposed to mourn the death of my husband. They accused me of killing him in order to get his money, because he worked for the municipality,” said Nolundi.

According to the indictment, Njisane had a motive to kill Sekaoti as he was set to testify in a disciplinary hearing against Njisane and this angered him.

On February 3, 2015, Sekoati was parked on the side of the road at the corner of Inkathazo and Somlandela roads in his red Toyota Tazz when Njisane arrived in a silver VW Jetta and parked in front of Sekaoti’s vehicle. He then got out of his car with a gun and fired several shots at Sekoati while he was still seated in his car.

Nolundi said she had sleepless nights with thoughts of what her accusers would say when the man arrested for her husband’s murder was finally convicted.

“I knew that he was the one who went around the community spreading stories that I killed my husband when he was the one responsible for his murder. I am relieved. Justice has been served,” said Nolundi.

Judge Kate Pillay said the State had failed to prove that the tragedy was planned and therefore could not convict Njisane on the basis that the murder was premeditated.

Senior State advocate Kelvin Singh argued that the evidence presented of a woman getting out of Sekoati’s car and getting into Njisane’s car was an indication that Sekaoti was lured to the scene of the crime.

He said the evidence that Njisane did not utter a word and just fired shots was evidence that the murder was premeditated.

“Our constitution guarantees a right to life. You violated that right. It is clear that one objective was to be achieved, and that was for the deceased to die,” said Singh.

Defence lawyer Willie Lombard had argued that the court should not rule out the possibility that the action was spur-of-the-moment.

Lombard argued that Njisane may have been driving in the area when he saw Sekoati parked at the side of the road and saw the opportunity. He asked the court to have mercy on his client.

Pillay was not convinced by the State’s version.

She said the State had no evidence to prove premeditated murder and therefore the prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years was applicable, but due to the brutality and the manner in which Sekaoti was killed, Pillay decided that 15 years’ imprisonment was too low and concluded that 20 years’ imprisonment was an appropriate sentence.

Pillay said the fact that Njisane had not taken the court into its confidence and instead chose to remain silent, placed the court in a difficult position.

Njisane, who appeared calm and relaxed in court, was out on bail for the duration of the trial and used every opportunity he could when the court was not in session to speak to members of his family.

He had a last brief chat with them again before he was escorted off to the police cells, while members of the Sekoati family shouted, “Goodbye”.

Daily News

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