Court accepts confessions from two arrested for premeditated murder of magistrate Victor Mabunda
Former Cullinan Correctional Centre wardens Thomo Ngoato and Paulos Fourie initially disputed the confessions after they were arrested for their alleged involvement in Mabunda’s killing in January last year.
They blamed one another for coming up with the idea to have Mabunda shot and killed in the driveway of his Bronkhorstspruit home.
Despite their contradictory statements, they remained friendly to each other in the dock.
In their confessions, they revealed that they worked with former inmate Thato Maringa and his two accomplices to kill Mabunda, who was due to sentence Ngoato for allegedly selling drugs in prison. The Department of Justice and Correctional Services had already axed him for his actions.
Ngoato claimed that the idea to get rid of Mabunda was raised by Fourie long before Maringa called him to tell him his case was serious. He said he could get rid of Mabunda for a fee.
However, Fourie confessed that Ngoato paid him R10000 to keep his mouth shut or he would be next. This was contrary to Ngoato’s statement that Fourie demanded R10000 for helping with the plan and execution.
According to Fourie, Ngoato thought Mabunda was going to be a problem in his case. He at the time suggested that Ngoato would not be sentenced to anything less that six years should he be guilty.
The confessions were read out to Judge Bert Bam in front of Mabunda’s widow Velaphi as well as the late magistrate’s family members and friends.
Ngoato and Fourie sat next to Maringa, who they both said was party to the assassination and brought two other men to do the job for R70000.
According to Ngoato’s statement, the fee was R45000, but after the hit was done, Maringa’s friend and trigger man identified only as “Solly” doubled the price to R90000. Ngoato then negotiated it to R70000.
Fourie and Ngoato explained that Mabunda was followed from the Cullinan Magistrate’s Court. They were in Ngoato’s Toyota Corolla while Maringa and the other men were in a Land Rover.
On reaching the driveway, the hitman jumped out and fired numerous shots at the magistrate. They sped to Mamelodi where Ngoato handed Maringa R25000.
They met later in Soweto where Ngoato paid the balance of R45000. However, Maringa denied killing Mabunda nor touching the firearm that was used in his assassination. He said he had learned to stay away from crime, but Ngoato kept trying to convince him to do the job.
He claimed to have only helped to transport the triggerman to meet with Ngoato and expected to be paid for his petrol.
He later accepted a payment to keep his mouth shut from Ngoato, but he took the money back.
This trial continues today.