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Gangsters guilty of butchering fellow member

Published Nov 29, 2005


A mother whose son was murdered and butchered by fellow Roto gang members was unable to speak after his killers were found guilty.

Puseletso Namanyane said she would wait until sentencing was handed down on Wednesday before she would comment.

She showed no emotion when Judge Joop Labuschagne on Monday convicted Paulos Mandlakayise Fakude, 34, Amos Rolim, 41, and the dead man's cousin, Bongani Andrew Mtshali, 27, for the murder of Sicelo Israel Mthembu and the violation of his body.

David Bakaqane, 27, was convicted for violating the body. He had pulled down the dead man's trousers and ordered Mtshali to cut off his genitals.

Mtshali and Roli were further found guilty of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

Two others, Troy Donovan Cleaver, 24, and Thabo Masehela, 28, were acquitted.

In May, Namanyane told the court that Mtshali had never even bothered to tell her of his cousin's death - she saw a picture of her dead son on the front page of a daily newspaper.

Mthembu was shot three times in September last year. Then, in a stretch of Randburg veld, he was disembowelled and his genitals were cut off.

The body was then dumped on a street in Rockville, Soweto, near Regina Mundi Church.

The state's ace witness, Phindile Penelope Pompi, 18, told the court that the decision to dump the body in Soweto was made by Fakude. She testified that he had said he wanted the locals to see how the "notorious" Mthembu had been killed.

She also pointed out a spot where Fakude kept Mthembu's genitals, which were in a decomposing state, under a bridge for 17 days.

Pompi testified that Roli fired a close-range shot at the back of Mthembu's hand while he was talking to Mtshali.

As Mthembu fell to the ground, a man named Nkosi - who is still on the run - fired two more shots at him.

She said that later, when she had composed herself, she heard Fakude rejoicing that he had slaughtered Mthembu.

Accepting Pompi's overwhelming evidence against Fakude, who had introduced her to the gang, Judge Labuschagne called her an impressive witness who gave graphic details about the murder and mutilation.

The judge convicted Fakude, along with Roli and Mtshali, for the murder, because the three were part of a meeting where Mthembu's death was plotted.

She said the three played a pivotal role in the murder and also pointed to contradictions in their testimonies, saying all of them were vague when answering questions.

In acquitting Cleaver and Masehela, Judge Labuschagne said Cleaver was a drug addict who ended up at the scene of the crime to buy drugs from Roli at the time Mthembu was killed.

- Peter Govoza, 30, who was charged for the crimes, disappeared a day after he had pleaded not guilty. He is also still on the run.

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