File photo: Independent Media
Pretoria - The prospect of spending Christmas in jail did not seem to bother a young killer too much.

Elsen Xolani Hlatshwayo, 29, stretched out in a lazy yawn in the dock shortly before he was escorted down the stairs to the holding cells on Tuesday.

He appeared unconcerned as about 10 armed Correctional Services officials led him away to start serving his life sentence.

Hlatshwayo is no stranger to life behind bars, and not a “foreigner to crime”, as Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, Judge Eben Jordaan stated.

He sentenced both Hlatshwayo and his partner in crime, Paulos Sipho Ngomane, 25, to life imprisonment as well as a further 20 years.

Ngomane is already serving 21 years for previous armed robberies and housebreakings, while Hlatswayo has earlier been sentenced to 30 years for attempted murder and armed robberies.

They were regarded as dangerous and a flight risk, and the armed Correctional Services officials, who wore bullet proof vests, sat scattered around the court and kept a watchful eye on the men in the dock.

The pair killed 28-year-old Ekangala businessman Jim Lintin Mnguni on New Year’s Eve, 2015.

Mnguni, who was a distributor of gambling machines, was Ngomane’s boss at the time.

Shocking details emerged during the trial of how the two killers tortured Mnguni by burning his face and body with a hot iron.

He was still alive after they robbed him, but he sealed his fate when he asked the pair to hand him a cellphone so that he could phone for help after they had left.

Upset by this request, Hlatswayo held his gun to Mnguni’s head and shot him execution-style.

They then rolled his body in a carpet and placed it in the boot of his car. They drove to a nearby stream where they dumped his body.

It was only discovered nine days later when children who were playing in the area noticed it and called the police.

Judge Jordaan said that to say the murder was a horrific deed was somewhat of an understatement.

“He was killed in cold blood and you did not show any remorse whatsoever,” the judge told the killers.

Fana Sithole, a friend, said Mnguni unfortunately kept bad company at times. He described these people as being gangsters.

“But all in all he was a good person. These people decided to kill their boss simply because they wanted his money. He gave them his money, but he was killed in cold blood because he kept on talking.”

A third accused, Thabo Baloyi, was acquitted.

He had walked past the open house after it was broken into and helped himself to some loot.

Pretoria News