Durban — The Durban Magistrate Court in sentencing a man who was alleged by the State to have been affiliated with an A-Team that worked with the Natal Security Branch and convicted of killing a political activist in 1989, said no sentence imposed would bring back the murdered teen.
“The accused and his accomplice violently took the deceased’s life. No sentence imposed will bring the deceased back to life, he is gone and will never come back,” said Acting Magistrate BK Khumalo on Thursday.
Gugulethu Wesley 'Matiri' Madonsela, 52, was sentenced to ten years imprisonment for the February 1989 murder of Siphelele Nxumalo who died from multiple gunshot wounds in Chesterville.
Evidence that the court has heard from an eyewitness was that Madonsela and three other friends approached Nxumalo who was standing with his girlfriend, two of the four including Madonsela pulled out guns and fired at Nxumalo.
Nxumalo was an activist with the United Democratic Front, which was affiliated with the African National Congress.
When the teen was down on the ground the two shooters went closer to him and continued shooting while the eyewitness, Nxumalo’s girlfriend Phumelele Miya, watched from the bush she had hidden behind.
Khumalo said that Nxumalo was unarmed when he was shot and killed.
“The actions of the accused and his accomplices were unwarranted and have impacted Nxumalo’s family and friends negatively. This is a permanent scar for them that will never go away, they will remember it forever.”
Speaking after the sentence outside court, the activist’s mother Phindile Edna Nxumalo said she harboured no ill feelings toward Madonsela.
“I was with him on Saturday at home, he came with meat and we had a braai and all sat and ate. We didn’t talk about the case all we mentioned was we were coming back this week. He has never told me that he was there (on the day of the shooting), when I found this out here in court I was shocked, but till now I consider him my son and I love him. I have no qualms with anyone in Chesterville, everything is still as it was because nothing will bring Siphelele and my other loved ones back from the dead.”
Nxumalo’s uncle Muntu Nxumalo, an ANC veteran who served 22 years on Robben Island, said the family in the past had asked Madonsela whom he described as a comrade how his nephew was killed.
“Matiri said he was killed in the violence going on in the township and we have always said to him that since it happened in the past we are letting it go. Nelson Mandela believed in letting bygones be bygones. We can’t comment on the sentence, all we wanted as a family is closure.
“Siphelele was an uMkhonto we Sizwe soldier, and as a commander myself, I came to know of his death while I was incarcerated. A lot of killings back then happened in townships and we would hear rumours as to what happened to Siphelele, it is only now in the trial that we have come to hear what really happened to him and that Matiri is one of the people who should have come forward to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”
He said the family was not in a position to say whether it was happy or not about the sentence, except to say that it got the closure it wanted.
“In the trial, we heard truths, half-truths, and lies. There are other cases where we still yearn for closure. My brother Sifiso Nxumalo was also killed coming from Piet Retief, and my sister’s husband Madoda Mbokazi was also killed in Chesterville.”
WhatsApp your views on this story at 071 485 7995.