‘Merciless killers’ given life sentences

2013-02-25 00:00

A POPULAR Zululand traditional healer who plotted his wife’s murder and watched her die was given life in jail by the Durban high court on Friday.

The sentencing marked six years since Lindiwe Gumede was throttled and shot dead on the night of July 31, 2007 — a murder orchestrated by her husband, Nkosinathi Gumede (52).

Her body was discarded in a sugar cane field at Gingindlovu, and only two years later was a breakthrough made in the investigation when a witness came forward with information.

Gumede, an inyanga who also gave generously as a philanthropist, was convicted of premeditated murder along with his bodyguard Isaac Buthelezi (40) last October by Judge Fikile Mokgohloa. Both were sentenced to life and denied leave to appeal their convictions.

The judge said she was unable to find any “substantial or compelling” reasons to deviate from the mandatory term of life in prison. And even though Buthelezi was acting on his boss’s instructions, it was he, according to a key witness, who fired the fatal shot.

“The murder was perpetrated against a defenceless and unarmed woman who posed no danger … the deceased was killed by someone she trusted — her husband and the father of their children,” Mokgohloa said in her judgement.

She took into account the endless violence committed against women in the country.

Gumede, a pastor of the Apostolic Church in Mtunzini, killed his wife because she was allegedly having an affair. He is well known in Zululand for herbal remedies. The couple had five children.

Recounting the evidence of a state witness who took part in the killing, Mokgohloa said it had to be remembered that Gumede planned his wife’s murder and instructed his bodyguards to kill her. Further, he gave instructions that they wear gloves to avoid leaving behind any fingerprints.

“The neck of the deceased was twisted. When she would not die, [Gumede] gave his tie to [Buthelezi] to continue to throttle her. Still, the deceased would not die. [Gumede] was angry with his bodyguards, shouting ‘Do you want the sun to come up before you kill her?’”

It was Buthelezi who eventually resorted to using a gun and shot Lindiwe through her mouth. Her body was left in a sugar cane field.

“I can’t find any reason why this court should show mercy to such merciless killers,” said Mokgohloa.

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