‘Revenge’ attack follows judgment

2010-07-26 00:00

THE violent murder of yet another young man and assaults on four others followed within three hours of the sentencing on Friday of six accused on charges arising from the brutal murder of a scholar, Andile Shabane (18), and the assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and attempted murder of his twin brother, Ayanda, at Hopewell in February 2008.

The Witness learned late on Friday night that relatives of the slain youth had been attacked with bush knives, allegedly by relatives of two of the sentenced men.

A highly emotional Thembeka Shabane (35) — sister of the twin brothers — who remained in witness protection for more than a year pending her evidence for the prosecution in the case, confirmed via cellphone at the weekend that her son, Mthokozisi Shabane (19), had been murdered, and said others were injured — one of them so severely that he had to be hospitalised.

Another had fled the area and gone into hiding in the wake of the attack and his whereabouts are unknown, she said.

She and her brother, Ayanda, recently went back to live in the Hopewell community after a lengthy period in witness protection.

SA Police Force spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said the trouble started outside the high court where an altercation allegedly occurred between relatives of two of the accused and the family of the victims.

Later Mthokozisi Shabane and four of his friends were confronted at Argosy township (also known as New Hopewell) while they were en route to visit a girlfriend at 6.30 pm.

“It is alleged that a group of about seven males grabbed them and attacked them with knives and bush knives.”

She said Mthokozisi Shabane died of multiple injuries to his head, back and neck, including a gash on the head with a bush knife. A friend who was stabbed in the arm with a bush knife was admitted to hospital, and his condition was reported to be stable yesterday. The others were not seriously injured in the attack.

Jeevan said the names of the survivors cannot be released for their own safety.

 

THE public gallery of the high court in Pietermaritzburg was packed on Friday when Judge Anton van Zyl, sitting with two assessors, passed sentences of 12 years’ imprisonment (for murder), eight years (for attempted murder) and four years (for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm) on the six men who stand convicted of the various charges arising from the attack on the Shabane twins on February 7, 2008.

Van Zyl found that there were compelling and substantial circumstances that justified a sentence less than the prescribed minimum of life imprisonment being imposed on the three accused convicted of Andile’s murder. The accused were part of a large crowd, and had been “swept up by feelings of animosity” brewing in the Hopewell community, which viewed the Shabane twins as “troublesome”.

Evidence was led that Andile Shabane had been arrested and charged with the murder of a fellow scholar and that the case “appeared to be going nowhere”.

The three men found guilty of Andile’s murder are Qikelea Mkhize (39), Mthobisi Phungula (25) and Xolani Madondo (29).

Madondo was a security guard working at Mlulama High School where Andile Shabane was found hacked to death, and Mkhize was a member of the ANC Youth League.

Foreman Sithole (21) and Ndumiso Duma (19) were sentenced to eight years each for attempted murder of Ayanda Shabane, and Sikhanyisa Mkhize (19) was sentenced to four years in jail for an assault on the twins.

The murders and assaults arose out of events which occurred in Hopewell on February 7, 2008, in which a large group of males hunted down the twins, who were rescued by police in the middle of a dam. The severely injured Ayanda was taken to hospital while Andile, who had been taken to the home of the Khoza family for safety, was found later that night, taken to Mlulama school and killed with an assortment of weapons.

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