CPF members who killed resident over witchcraft claims handed 25-year sentence for murder
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Pretoria - Two Community Policing Forum (CPF) members who burnt a resident to death and seriously injured another have been sentenced to 25 years imprisonment each for murder and an additional seven years for attempted murder.
There were initially three people accused standing trial for the murder but the third accused, Sizakale Goodness Mashaba, 29, died.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Mpumalanga provincial spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said Abel Mamba, 45, and Sibusiso Mkhabela, 32, all from Schoemansdal, were convicted of murder (and) attempted murder which happened in 2019 in Schoemansdal.
Nyuswa explained that community members had accused the victims’ family of practising witchcraft and the allegations were reported to the local police and the ward councillor.
Meetings were convened and the community decided that the family be expelled.
“On the night of January 30 2019, the victims, Lucky Bhekumuzi Mokoena and Mzamo Johnson Lobi, returned home. On their arrival, they were confronted by the three (accused people) together with other community members. They assaulted them with a shovel, kicked them and trampled them with fists,” said Nyuswa.
“They then set Mokoena alight with petrol and a tyre. He died on the scene while Lobi sustained serious injuries.”
An eyewitness reported the matter to the police and the three were arrested.
“They denied their involvement, but state advocate Tula Bekwa led testimonies of several witnesses. In their evidence, they said they all knew perpetrators as CPF members from the same neighbourhood. Another witness testified that he blew a whistle to alert the community members of the incident,” said Nyuswa.
“He (the witness) added that he was able to see everything as he was hiding behind a backyard fence and was able to give a clear account of incidents. Their testimonies corroborated the evidence of a police officer who attended the crime scene.”
Bekwa urged the court to convict the accused.
“She emphasised that their duty as CPF members was to promote law and order in the community of Schoemansdal as well as to assist the police in the fight against crime in the area instead of involving themselves in such crimes,” said Nyuswa.
Acting Judge Johanna Mthimunye found the pair guilty and sentenced them to 25 years each for murder and another seven years each for attempted murder.
The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently, meaning the pair will serve an effective 25 years in jail.
“The NPA commended the passion portrayed by the investigating team and the prosecution in delivering justice to the victims of crime,” said Nyuswa.