St James killer gets life sentence

2012-02-17 09:07

St James Church killer Gcinikhaya Makoma, who was granted amnesty for the 1993 attack, has been sentenced to life and 46 years in prison for his role in a “deadly” cash van heist, the Cape Times newspaper reported today.

The sentences would run concurrently.

Makoma, 36, and eight others – Lunga Luke, Thobela Nono, Zamekile Ngqonga, Thando Mafalala, Thobile Pezisa, Andile Ndandani, Zukile Netti and Thembikile Tikipini – were found guilty in the Western Cape High Court yesterday.

Judge Patrick Gamble said Makoma’s argument that the St James Church Massacre – for which he was granted amnesty in 1998 – had dogged his life and that it had led him to kill again was a “perverse argument not worthy of serious consideration”.

Makoma’s role in the heist had been driven by “pure greed”.

“Society undoubtedly looks to the courts to protect itself from this offender once and for all,” said Judge Gamble, adding that nothing but a life sentence would be appropriate in Makoma’s case.

While his defence contended Makoma had to be treated as a first offender because his record had been expunged under the “TRC Act”, Judge Gamble, citing case law, said this did not mute the fact that his role in the St James Church Massacre was historically true.

The judge had asked to read the TRC’S amnesty ruling, but it had never been put before the court.

As a result, the court had little before it to appreciate Makoma’s argument that his life had been defined by his “unique” past.

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