Third man admits to murder of taxi driver

2011-05-06 00:00

A NEWCASTLE taxi driver who helped hold down a colleague who was being strangled by other men pleaded guilty to murder and aggravated robbery in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday.

Cyprian Simphiwe Mdakane (22) is the third of four assailants who have pleaded guilty to abducting Francis Msimango from Newcastle to the Nkandla area in October and strangling him.

His bruised and lacerated body was dumped in a pit toilet. Although his body was recovered the next day, it was not identified by his family until a month after his murder because it was dumped near Nkandla, about 400 km from his home.

Mdakane’s counsel, Ishy Khan, said there were substantial and compelling circumstances justifying a sentence of less than the prescribed life for the murder committed during an aggravated robbery and less than 15 years for the robbery.

Khan said Mdakane was a first offender, was young and had shown remorse by pleading guilty and agreeing to testify against the leader of the assailants, Simphiwe Shabalala.

The group hailed Msimango, boarded his taxi and told him where to drive. He was held up at gunpoint, tied up with shoe laces and after driving a long distance was strangled.

The vehicle, which the group had hoped to sell, was set alight when it gave trouble.

State counsel Denardo MacDonald said Mdakane was arrested only after five months and doubted that he showed remorse before he was arrested in March.

Mdakane said Shabalala and Msimango were involved in a relationship with the same girl.

Mdakane, who was convicted of the murder and aggravated robbery, is to be sentenced on Monday.

 

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