‘Our families need us!’ Killers of mayor Moses Maluleke handed life sentences after begging for mercy

The High Court in Polokwane has sentenced five men to life imprisonment for the 2022 murder of Collins Chabane municipal mayor, Moses Maluleke. Picture: NPA

The High Court in Polokwane has sentenced five men to life imprisonment for the 2022 murder of Collins Chabane municipal mayor, Moses Maluleke. Picture: NPA

Published Apr 12, 2024


Five convicted killers who murdered the Collins Chabane Municipality Mayor Moses Maluleke have been sentenced to life imprisonment by the High Court in Polokwane.

The five killers - Shumani Nemadodzi, 48, Avhatakali Isaac Mudau 39, Wiseman Baloyi 37, Tshianeo Munyai, 32, and Pfunzo Lidzebe, 33, were sentenced on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, murder, attempted murder, and possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

Maluleke, 56, was brutally murdered at his homestead in Xikundu village on July 21, 2022.

Earlier this week, IOL News reported that the five accused men had been convicted for the murder of Maluleke.

“The accused gained access to the premises of the deceased (Maluleke), in the evening and shot him. The incident happened while the deceased was with his 18-year-old son,” said Limpopo regional spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi.

The slain municipal mayor of the Collins Chabane local municipality in Limpopo, Moses Maluleke. Picture: Collins Chabane local municipality/X

A mobile phone was stolen during the incident.

“The court accepted the evidence of a key witness who was used by the State in terms of section 204 of Act 51 of 1977. The court found that the witness testified frankly and honestly. This witness implicated himself, all the accused persons and other unknown people in the commission of these offences,” Malabi-Dzhangi said.

The court found that the State had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt, that the accused people had at all times acting in the furtherance of a common purpose, and that the offences had been planned.

In mitigation of the sentence, Nemadodzi called his wife to give evidence on his behalf.

The wife pleaded with the court, begging the judge to refrain from imposing life imprisonment on Nemadodzi so that he would be able to continue to take care of his second born child who was diagnosed with cancer and a heart disease.

Mudau, Baloyi, Munyai and Lidzebe also pleaded with the court, requesting the court to spare them from life imprisonment.

“They pleaded for leniency, as they would want to take care of their families. The defence lawyer also pleaded with the court to have mercy on the accused men and deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence,” said Malabi-Dzhangi.

During sentencing, senior State advocate Eric Mabapa called Rhangeleni Mambre Maluleke, the wife of the deceased mayor.

Rhangelani told the court that, as a result of the the brutal murder of her husband, the family’s doors and gates are always locked, as the family members fear for their lives.

The court also heard that the mayor was a generous person who would assist anyone who was in need within the community.

Rhangelani also told the court that she is struggling to manage the family household, in the absence of her husband. She said her son is not doing well, as he is living in pain, with a bullet under his kidney.

The widow pleaded with the court to impose life imprisonment sentence on all the convicted men.

Mabapa submitted that sentence for the heinous crimes should be retributive and deterrent, considering the seriousness of the crimes and the prevalence thereof.

Deputy Judge President in Limpopo, Matsaro Violet Semenya sentenced all the accused to life imprisonment on the charge of murder, 10 years for attempted murder, 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, and five years each for unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.

“The sentences will run concurrently with the life imprisonment, and the court further ordered that all accused be declared unfit to possess a firearm,” said Malabi-Dzhangi.

Meanwhile, Director of Public Prosecutions in Limpopo, Advocate Ivy Thenga has welcomed the sentence and added that she hopes that the Maluleke family finds closure.

Provincial director of public prosecutions in Limpopo, advocate Ivy Thenga. File Picture: NPA

Thenga also commended the “good work” done by advocate Mabapa, and police officers – Lieutenant Colonel Sotlo Richard Boshomane and Warrant Officer Masilo Phaladi Makola attached to the Limpopo murder and robbery unit.