Trio who kidnapped, raped, and chopped up two women sentenced

The men have all been sentenced in the Makhanda High Court. File Picture

The men have all been sentenced in the Makhanda High Court. File Picture

Published Mar 10, 2024


Three murderers from the Eastern Cape have been sentenced in the Makhanda High Court after they callously murdered two women in July 2023.

Mandla Qosho, 46, Siyanda Makaleni, 45, and Sgagela Mgwatyu, 53, pleaded guilty to charges of business robbery, robbery with a firearm, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of murder, rape, possession of an unlicensed firearm and illegal possession of ammunition.

One of the suspects also arrested in the matter, Themba Dingela, 50, pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him.

His case has been postponed until April 16.

The court heard on July 8, 2023, the owner of a spaza shop, Zoleka Gantana, 57, and her 27-year-old assistant Kholosa Mpunga were kidnapped and robbed while at the shop in Ncera Village in Kidds Beach.

The five suspects drove off with the victims in Gantana’s bakkie.

After being kidnapped, the women were held captive in a shack on a farm in Peddie.

The court heard one of the victims recognised one of the suspects and the group made a decision to kill the women. The women were raped before their bodies were burnt and later chopped into pieces and discarded in a nearby river.

The provincial police spokesperson, Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the efforts from the investigating officer and his team resulted in them cracking the case.

“The meticulous investigation and commendable efforts of Detective Colonel Mxolisi Pongwana and his team resulted in the recovery of the stolen bakkie as well as crucial evidence, including pieces of the victims' remains by the East London K9 search and rescue unit. Through unwavering determination and commitment to justice, four suspects were arrested, with one still evading capture,” Naidu said.

The court sentenced Qosho to life imprisonment, Makaleni was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, and Mgwatyu was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.

The Eastern Cape Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Nomthetheleli Mene said the despicable acts, perpetrated by the group represent a grave injustice that has left the families of the victims shaken and shattered by this senseless act of violence.

“Crimes of this nature are not only a blatant reminder of the darkness that exists in our society but also serve as a call to action for us all to stand united against such atrocities. We stand resolute in our commitment to protecting our communities and ensuring that perpetrators of such heinous crimes are swiftly brought to justice.

“We must all work together to combat violence against women and children and to ensure that our areas are one where every individual feels safe and valued,” Mene said.

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