Political murder: men jailed

2008-07-27 00:00

Three men were sentenced to life imprisonment by Judge Noel Hurt in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday for the “cold-blooded” assassination of a man at Madadeni township near Newcastle on June 24, 2005.

The “mastermind” behind the murder of Ismail Khoza was found by the court to have been 46-year-old Phalamende Madi — a community leader and a former provincial secretary of the United Democratic Movement (UDM).

The motive for the murder was that Khoza allegedly challenged Madi’s claim at a public meeting that he had bought and owned Iscor hostel and was in charge of rentals. Khoza told community members that this claim was not true.

As a result, Madi enlisted the help of others, including accused Tenpercent Ncokwane (37) and Mduduzi Duma (23), who were also convicted of the murder‚ to kill Khoza.

Khoza was confronted at his home while parking his car on the evening in question, and several shots were fired at him. He was shot in the head and died at the scene.

Judge Hurt said it was clear from the way Madi conducted his defence at the trial that he felt “no remorse at all”.

He said he was satisfied that Ncokwane and Duma were “under the thrall” of Madi, but said they were adult men who had held responsible jobs and had a reasonable measure of education.

Although minor roleplayers, they were active participants in the assassination.

In addition, each put up a “lying defence” in court.

Judge Hurt said the “ruthless killing of a person to quiet his opposition is the very antithesis of the democratic process”.

“This court would be turning its back on the needs of society to stabilise this type of power struggle and route its flow through proper democratic processes if it did not send out a message that this type of seizure of power by force is now a thing of the past,” Hurt said.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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