Pietermaritzburg - ‘A killer for hire, devoid of any conscience or humanity” has been sentenced to life imprisonment plus 15 years for the murders of two women in Pietermaritzburg.

High Court Judge Isaac Madondo sentenced Nkululeko Ngcobo on Monday, saying he deserved to be punished severely for his actions.

Ngcobo killed Theofrida Tshezi on January 20 last year at Dambuza on the instructions of Tshezi’s sister, Olga.

Olga, who pleaded guilty to the murder last year, is serving a 12-year prison term.

Phindile Ngwenya, who was with Tshezi at the time of the attack, was also killed.

She was just in the wrong place and the wrong time. Ngcobo pleaded guilty to the murders, and testified in mitigation of sentence, apologising to the victims’ families.

Judge Madondo, however, said that while remorse was crucial to his rehabilitation, the violence perpetrated against two defenceless women far outweighed his regret.

“You were a killer for hire. You are devoid of any conscience or humanity,” the judge said.

In his plea, Ngcobo said he had been informed by Olga that Tshezi abused her family and had even assaulted her own father when he was ill.

These actions had prompted Olga to want to kill her sister, but she realised that she would need to enlist Ngcobo’s help.

She promised R10 000 from the insurance money she would collect after Tshezi’s death as payment for the murder.

Ngcobo and two accomplices - who are now awaiting trial - hired a Toyota Corolla and went to Imbali in search of Tshezi on January 19.

They found Tshezi and Ngwenya drinking at a tavern. They consumed alcohol with their victims then drove them to a more secluded area.

There, the three men beat the women to within an inch of their lives and strangled them.

They then loaded the bodies into the boot of their car and drove to Edendale, where they dumped them on the side of the road, where they would be easily found.

“These women were killed purely for financial gain. The degree of violence used induces a sense of shock. This was a despicable deed,” Judge Madondo said.

The judge sentenced Ngcobo to life for the premeditated murder of Tshezi and 15 years for the murder of Ngwenya, who was killed because she was a potential witness.

Daily News