Hefty sentence for men who killed councillor in a hail of bullets

Councillor Sibani Robert Mdletshe. | Supplied

Councillor Sibani Robert Mdletshe. | Supplied

Published Jun 17, 2024


Durban — Two men have been sentenced to 39 years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to the 2021 murder of a KwaZulu-Natal councillor.

IFP proportional representative councillor Sibani Mdletshe was shot dead in a hail of bullets in Mandeni, north of Durban, on March 5, 2021.

Recently, the Pietermaritzburg High Court sentenced Bhekizenzo Mtshali, 38, and Lindelani Nsele, 28, to 39-year jail terms after they pleaded guilty (Section 112) to murder, attempted murder and malicious injury to property they committed in March 2021 in the Mandeni area of Eshowe.

KwaZulu-Natal National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said Mdletshe was a ward councillor who was also involved in the taxi business in the Mandeni area.

Before the offences, a minibus taxi and a motor vehicle belonging to Mdletshe were burnt in Mandeni. Some people were arrested, and Mdletshe was the only witness to the offence.

On March 5, 2021, Mdletshe was with a relative (complainant in the attempted murder charge), and two other people when he was gunned down by Mtshali and Nsele at a shopping centre in the area.

Mdletshe was shot several times and died on the scene, while the complainant was taken for medical attention. The motor vehicle they were in was also damaged.

Mtshali and Nsele fled the scene but were eventually arrested after police acted on information provided to them.

Ramkisson-Kara said that in aggravation of sentence, advocate Elvis Gcweka told the court that Mdletshe was shot with different firearms and more than 22 empty cartridges were found on the scene.

He died instantly. The complainant’s leg was crushed and had to be salvaged by medical procedures involving metal rods.

Gcweka also told the court about the pain and trauma suffered by Mdletshe’s family after the attack. They said his loss impacted their community at large.

“Mtshali and Nsele were sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment for murder, 12 years’ imprisonment for attempted murder and two years’ imprisonment for malicious injury to property, thus resulting in an effective sentence of 39 years. They were also declared unfit to possess a firearm,” Ramkisson-Kara said.

Last September when Police Minister Bheki Cele addressed the media on behalf of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Political Killings about those who order hits, he said notorious hitman Siyanda Wiseman Thusi, who is a taxi owner, was arrested and charged with three others for Mdletshe’s murder.

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