Durban – Four men were on Wednesday sentenced to life plus 30 years by the Ulundi Regional Court in western KwaZulu-Natal for aggravated assault and murder in two incidents that involved robbing a traditional leader and murdering a tuck shop owner.
Saziso Sphelele Buthelezi, 28, Sandile Xulu, 22, Gadokwakhe Buthelezi, 28, and Makhosonke Nyawo, 34, were convicted and sentenced after an exhaustive investigation by police officials from the Mahlabathini policing precinct.
“They were sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and 30 years imprisonment for robbery with aggravating circumstances. Gadokwakhe, who was found with the traditional leader’s firearm, was further sentenced to 23 years’ imprisonment for illegal possession of firearm and ammunition,” said Colonel Thembeka Mbele, in a statement on Wednesday.
Acting KwaZulu-Natal provincial commissioner Major-General Thulani Gonya praised the investigating officers on their thorough investigation which secured the conviction.
According to a police statement, the accused robbed a 59-year-old traditional leader on February 14, 2018, at his premises in the Ndinde Reserve, a mountainous area in KwaZulu-Natal, about 30 minutes west of Ulundi.
The four criminals, armed with guns, robbed him of his cellphones, an undisclosed amount of cash and his licensed firearm.
Mbele said the victim was stabbed in both thighs.
“A case of armed robbery was opened for investigation,” she said.
In a second incident later that month, on February 28, the four attacked Amos Xulu, a 76-year-old tuck shop owner from the Nkonjeni Reserve, near Ulundi.
Mbele explained that the criminals demanded cash before shooting Xulu dead in his shop.
“They also assaulted family members and fled. A case of murder and robbery was opened for investigation.”
Three of the criminals were arrested in Empangeni on the north coast of KZN and in Ulundi. One of the accused was apprehended inside a minibus taxi on the R66 highway in Melmoth.
“These men were arrested for murder and were positively linked to the robbery that occurred earlier that month. They were kept in custody throughout the trial while the investigation to link them to other cases was continuing,” said the colonel.
African News Agency (ANA)