Slain priest: state witness gets 20 years

2012-09-08 00:00

ONE of three men accused of murdering a priest was yesterday sentenced to 20 years behind bars after pleading guilty.

Siqiniseko Dlamini (21) will turn state witness, having pleaded guilty to two charges, murder and robbery, when he appeared in the high court sitting in Mtunzini.

He received an additional 10 years for robbery. The sentences are to run concurrently.

Richards Bay Organised Crime Unit investigating officer Captain Bonginkosi Mncube said Dlamini had agreed to testify against his alleged accomplices.

The trial of the two other accused, Khulekani Lindokuhle Mbatha (18) and Mduduzi Mabaso (24), is set down for Monday.

The three, from Enkonjeni Reserve near Nongoma, were charged with murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, housebreaking with intent to rob, and robbery.

The Catholic priest, Father Andries Senzo Mbokazi (35), was found dead in his room in the grounds of St Pius Catholic Church near Melmoth on November 20 last year.

On that Sunday morning, his congregants had arrived for a service and became suspicious when he did not turn up.

The priest’s body was found in his bedroom.

His hands and feet were bound.

Police said at the time of the arrests in early January that the priest had suffered stab wounds and might have been strangled. Items, including clothing, had been stolen.

The three accused first appeared in the Melmoth Magistrate’s Court, where their case was transferred to a higher court.

All three have been held in custody.

— Witness Reporter.

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