Taxi owner assassin jailed for 22 years

2009-10-22 00:00

A HIRED assassin who gunned down a Newcastle taxi owner “in cold blood” in March in the belief that he was involved in a protection racket, forcing other taxi owners to pay large sums of money to operate, was yesterday sentenced to 22 years in prison by Pietermaritzburg high court Judge Anton van Zyl.

The court found that in the circumstances of the case it would not be just to sentence Musawenkosi Sibisi (26) to life imprisonment.

The judge said that although the court could not find as a fact that the victim, Stanley Thembinkosi Nkosi (46), was involved in the alleged “nefarious activities”, the court accepted that Sibisi believed that this was so.

He found that Sibisi’s aunt — who promised to pay R40 000 for Nkosi’s murder — was a victim of these activities.

The court also accepted as mitigating the fact that Sibisi was unemployed, but under pressure to continue to maintain his child and other relatives.

After the shooting, the court heard that Sibisi managed to get a job as a taxi driver in Johannesburg.

Sibisi pleaded guilty to the murder charge yesterday and said he is remorseful, willing to take reponsibility for his actions and ready to testify against any other accused.

He said that on March 26 he and two other men were approached by his aunt, Hlengiwe Sibisi, a taxi owner, who informed them that she was “having a problem” with Nkosi.

“She said she would pay us R40 000 to kill the deceased. We agreed,” he said.

He said on that March 27 they went to the long-distance taxi rank in Newcastle and shot Nkosi several times. He fell down and they drove away.

They later heard that he had died.

“We were paid R20 000, which we divided among ourselves,” said Sibisi.

The SA Police Service said in a statement yesterday that another accused, Ronald Hlatswayo (25), has pleaded not guilty in the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court.

His trial was postponed to November 28.

Hlatswayo and Sibisi were arrested in Gauteng by members of the Durban organised crime unit led by Senior Superintendent Simon Madonsela.

Two other suspects are still at large.

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