Naledi Kgadiete, 28, was sentenced in the Northern Cape High Court, on Thursday afternoon for his role in the brutal murder of Kimberley resident Gershwin Swartz nearly a year and a half ago.
Kgadiete will be spending half of his combined sentence of 44 years, on three counts, behind bars after pleading guilty to all charges against him relating to an incident where Swartz was kidnapped and murdered.
On Tuesday, Kgadiete had his case separated from his three co-accused - Shaun Carelse, 24, Mamogelo Mocumi, 29, and Boitumelo Matlhola, 20 - before handing in a plea agreement in which he indicated that he would be willing to give witness statements and testify against the three remaining accused, after pleading guilty to murder, kidnapping and aggravated assault.
Carelse, Mocumi and Matlhola will appear in court again and face the same charges, following the incident where Swartz was kidnapped while in his blue Polo vehicle and later murdered.
According to a post-mortem report, Swartz died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head, as well as several stab wounds, allegedly inflicted by the accused.
His body was found near a shooting range in Phutunang on July 16 last year after he was last seen at his home during the early hours of July 12.
While explaining his decision to the court on Wednesday, Judge Johann Olivier said that the fact that Kgadiete had co-operated with the State and had handed in a plea agreement justified deviating from the prescribed minimum sentences on all three counts, but he added that a history of similar convictions necessitated a harsh punishment.
This comes after Kgadiete was convicted twice in 2008, once for theft and once for robbery, earning him consecutive sentences of 20 months and three years respectively, suspended for five years.
This was followed by another theft conviction in 2013, resulting in a sentence of three months in prison or a fine of R500, also suspended for five years.
“He (Kgadiete) has been given ample opportunity to mend his ways,” Olivier explained. “However, three years after his last conviction he is involved in this robbery under aggravating circumstances.”
“Subsequently, mitigating factors to take into consideration include that he has co-operated with the police and is still willing to continue doing so.
“He also appears to be remorseful and has expressed a wish to apologise to the family of the victim.
“While the extent of his intoxication, at different stages of the incident, was not presented to the court, the fact that he was under the influence of alcohol and drugs also needs to be taken into account.”
Olivier added that Kgadiete’s actions had been extremely detrimental to the family of the deceased, especially his parents and young child.
“On the first count (aggravated assault) I sentence you to 12 years. On count two (kidnapping) I sentence you to 10 years, while on the third count (murder) I sentence you to 22 years as determined in the plea agreement,” said Olivier.
“The first two sentences will be served concurrently with the third.”
Meanwhile, Kgadietie’s co-accused will return to the Northern Cape High Court next Friday for their trial.
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