A husband who paid R30,000 to a hitman to kill his wife after she refused to let him take a second wife at Maqomeni Location in Mqanduli, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.
The Mqanduli Regional Court has sentenced Masonwabe Dlulani, 30, to 25 years imprisonment for the contract murder of his wife, Baliswa Magxagxa.
Dlulani made a sudden U-turn and changed his plea of not guilty to guilty after the prosecution brought two witnesses who implicated him.
He admitted that he had wanted to take a second wife, but the deceased objected to that, so he decided to have her killed.
"The mother of two was shot and killed by an intruder who had pretended to be looking for help at her home in Maqomeni Location in the district of Mqanduli," NPA regional spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said.
"The evidence presented in court is that Dlulani, a mineworker in Northam, Limpopo, met the hitman there," Tyali said.
Tyali further added that the two agreed on a sum of R30,000 for the murder, and the hitman, who also hails from the Eastern Cape, drove to the home of the deceased, leaving her husband behind in Limpopo.
"He shot and killed the woman in front of the couple’s five-year-old daughter on the evening of January 21, 2021," Tyali said.
Tyali also said that police investigations led to the arrest of Dlulani, who had called his family members soon after the killing of his wife, asking them to check on her as he wanted to deposit money for her.
"Under police questioning after the funeral of his wife, he made some admissions implicating the alleged hitman, Gcobani Msebenzini.
"But when the trial commenced, he pleaded not guilty and attempted to distance himself from the statement he made to the police," Tyali said.
Tyali further continued that regional court prosecutor Shakes Mvulana led the evidence of Dlulani’s relatives, whom he had called on the morning following the murder.
"When he realised that their evidence was overwhelming, he changed his tune.
"The alleged hitman is still pleading not guilty and is due in court on November 1, 2023, for the continuation of his trial," Tyali said.
Regional Court magistrate Noluvo Mhlana found that there were compelling circumstances for deviation from the prescribed minimum sentence of life for premeditated murder, considering the presentence report indicating that Dlulani was remorseful, a first offender, and that his low level of education had played a part in his decision.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape Director of Public Prosecutions, Barry Madolo, commended the prosecutor and the investigating officer for their meticulous collection and presentation of evidence.