St James killer guilty of another murder

2011-12-22 13:01

Johannesburg - One of the shooters in the St James Church massacre was found guilty in court of committing murder again, Beeld newspaper reported on Thursday.

On Tuesday Western Cape High Court Judge Pat Gamble found Gcinikhaya Makoma and his eight co-accused guilty on a number of charges related to a cash-in-transit heist in 2007 along Duiker Street in Parow, Cape Town.

A security guard was shot dead and two others seriously wounded when the group of men opened fire at a Fidelity Guards cash van in December of that year.

Constable Siphokazi Mawisa said at the time that the van had been forced to come to a standstill after the robbers rammed it with two vehicles.

The robbers were then caught by police after they abandoned their getaway car at Florida Parks Sports Ground and tried to run away on foot.

Life sentence

An AK47 rifle, an R5 rifle, a 9mm pistol and a .38-special revolver were confiscated. Both vehicles used to ram the van were reported to have been stolen in November 2007.

This week, Makoma was subsequently found guilty on a charge of murder, four of attempted murder and one of robbery.

The State said on Wednesday it would ask for a sentence of life imprisonment for Makoma.

Makoma was a member of the Azanian People's Liberation Army (Apla) - the liberation wing of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) - when he took part in the St James massacre in Kenilworth in Cape Town in July 1993.

He was subsequently found guilty on 11 charges of murder, 58 counts of attempted murder and the unlawful possession of arms and ammunition and sentenced to 23 years in jail.

However, in 1998, he received amnesty from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

During the TRC hearings, Makoma also applied for amnesty for his role in a police ambush in Khayelitsha in the run up to the country's 1994 democratic elections.

The St James attack

In testimony towards his St James massacre amnesty application, Makoma said that he and another Apla member stole a car at gunpoint to be used in the attack.

They then picked up two other members at a taxi rank and proceeded to the church.

It was only in the car that their unit leader, Lester Nonxuba - who has since died - gave the orders for the attack.

Makoma said that he was given an R4 rifle and a hand grenade. He was told to throw the hand grenade once he was inside and to then shoot indiscriminately at the congregation once inside the church.

Makoma said he used his full R4 magazine of about 31 rounds of ammunition while shooting.

At the time, Makoma testified that, as an Apla operative, he was trained not to question orders but to obey them at all times.

Acknowledging the victims

The amnesty committee then ruled that it accepted Makoma and his fellow applicants were members of Apla.

"We accept that the applicants believed that by executing the orders of their commander they were advancing the struggle which the PAC was waging against the National Party-led government for the return of the land to the African people."

After the amnesty ruling, at the time, then Pan Africanist Congress president Stanley Mogoba reached out to the families of the 11 people killed in the church.

"We are, at last, happy to see that the amnesty committee is releasing our cadres who have languished in prison for politically motivated activity," Mogoba said in a statement.

However, "in our joy, we do not forget the families of those who have been victims of our operations", he said.

"We acknowledge them and join them in our commitment to working for a South Africa that is free of violence and truly democratic."

  • Sharmay - 2011-12-22 13:05

    once a criminal, always a criminal.

      Bardy - 2011-12-22 13:40

      "He was subsequently found guilty on 11 charges of murder, 58 counts of attempted murder and the unlawful possession of arms and ammunition and sentenced to 23 years in jail" - ONLY 23 YEARS?????? What the hell is wrong with the courts???? And then he got amnesty as well???

      Cina - 2011-12-22 14:27

      @Bardy yes and then everybody is complaining about the Waterkloof 2 that was released and that they only receive a 12 year sentence.

      Sharkshoot - 2011-12-22 15:18

      Shadoz I agree....they should have been put down, like the coward dogs that they are. This subsequent action shows that their initial political motivations were really just plain cowardly criminal actions by useless thugs.

  • Erno - 2011-12-22 13:23

    How many of these guys committed murder and other crimes under the guise of the struggle - just to turn out to be serial criminals anyway? Can you say Robert McBride? Makes me want to vomit! Set free to kill again.

  • Sharon - 2011-12-22 13:30

    Strange how they all find their way back to where they belong. Behind bars!!!

      Patsy - 2012-02-17 11:35

      Not all, Sharon, a very small minority, I'd guess.

  • richard.hipkin - 2011-12-22 13:37

    Ok, how much of a "freedom fighter" are you to throw a grenade into a church and then kill people indiscriminately? Blood thirsty savage if you ask me.

      Stirer - 2011-12-22 14:44

      With reference to the part about being granted amnesty because they were satisfied that he was advancing the struggle for the PAC; please someone explain how indiscriminately killing church goers advances the political aspirations of the PAC? Firstly the church in general never supported the Nationalist government, nor did it support apartheid. secondly, if this were a struggle (read civil war), then it should have targeted military, police, political or even economic assets - not civilians who might very well have been sympathetic to their cause.

      George - 2011-12-23 05:14

      If it was for the "struggle" then why did the cowards attack a church full of innocent people?? why not a Police station or Army barracks, answer....they shoot back.

  • Mark - 2011-12-22 13:39

    He was always a terrorist, and always will be one, to gain freedom through killing innocent people will never be a freedom that a free man will subscribe too, as he will spend his living life locked in a living hell until he eventually goes there.

  • Yar - 2011-12-22 13:52

    If the death penalty had been applied first time, a life would have been saved.

      edward.d.beesley - 2011-12-23 13:23

      Exactly Yar - where are all those who say that the Death Penalty doesn't deter or reduce crime? If he'd been exterminated then, he would never have killed again and robbed some families of their loved ones and breadwinners. Justice in SA? What justice? Pathetic.

  • Burtfred - 2011-12-22 14:09

    If one of my family had been killed in the church massacre and Stanley Magoba approached me or "reached out" to me, I would have told him to f***off in no uncertain manner.

      Philip - 2011-12-22 16:57

      and shot HIM! in the name of the armed struggle?

  • richard.galpin - 2011-12-22 14:10

    If this guy had received the deserved sentence (hung by the neck until you are dead) just think how many deserved people would still be alive today. If this were the case then where is the statement that "the death sentence will not stop cruel and cold blooded murder"

  • Burtfred - 2011-12-22 14:12

    The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter. Winston Churchill.

  • John - 2011-12-22 14:19

    If my memory serves me correctly, the "military commander", Letlapa Mphahlele who ordered the attacks both at the church and the tavern never applied for nor received amnesty. He had input at the hearings, but refused to apply for amnesty. So much has been brushed under the carpets and "forgotten" about. Should have been strung up years ago.

      John - 2011-12-22 15:46

      PAC President Letlapa Mphahlele says freedom fighters should be free to travel to any country in the world without restrictions and exceptions. Mphahlele was speaking at the funeral service of PAC Women's League national president, Khuselwa Ngcukana at Centane in the Eastern Cape. Mphahlele said there were some PAC and even ANC freedom fighters who were still being refused visas by certain countries who still regard them as terrorists and a threat. The 36 year-old Ngcukana passed away last week.

  • siyat.bonanza - 2011-12-22 14:36

    what a shame to share a surname with such a thug. he is my cousin by the way. Never approved of his acts.

  • Peter - 2011-12-22 14:43

    Just goes to show let these bastards out of jail for one crime and they will do it again, another reason to bring back the death penalty as quickly as possible, but zuma wont as all his allies in the anc would be on the gallows

  • marc.landsberg1 - 2011-12-22 15:30

    Two words for Makoma....die scum!

  • Bob - 2011-12-22 16:58

    Murdering recedivist...!

  • Avril - 2011-12-22 22:56

    You are a cowardly murderer. I suppose if APLA told you to jump off a cliff, you would have gladly done so, as you were TOLD to obey orders. This is typical of those who can't think for themselves, who do not have a discriminating brain. I remember the Gordan family who were destroyed by your despicable act, so, tough on you.

  • George - 2011-12-23 05:11

    Just dont go out and kill a homeless person because the sentence is waaaayy harsher

      Garth - 2011-12-23 08:19

      dumb comment george.

  • Markrschulz - 2011-12-23 05:57

    People must learn to accept that there are animals among us. They ride the social waves in order to satisfy their own sick urges. The worst Nazis like Klaus Barbie, Josef Mengele and Heinrich Himmler were such animals. Under apartheid, these kinds of people served both the ANC and the Nationalists, not from loyalty to either cause, but only they own base desires for death, carnage, torture and inflicting pain on others. Later they were used as scapegoats and straw men by various leaders to paint all people of opposing factions as inhuman to the same extent. I am not surprised in the slightest. May this monster rot in an iron cage until the end of his days.

      Garth - 2011-12-23 08:29

      Yes mark, there are animals among us. The loyal dog, the selfish cat, the stately giraffe, the elegant kudu, etc. All of the acts were, are and will be committed by human beings. Low-life, scum-bag human beings all, but definitely not animals. Religion places man on a pedestal above the animals - that is the problem: all indoctrinated people see humans as god-like and all else as produce. Man is the killer ape and you had better get used to it. Oh and for the umpteenth time: to Braam and the other Europeans that live in Africa - if you were born in Africa you are an African, no matter what the racists say.

  • Blip - 2011-12-23 06:48

    No conscience. A sociopath.

  • Patsy - 2012-02-17 11:33

    Great stuff!!! The theft of money and the murder of some security guards was more punishable than the murder of 57 people in a church. Just goes to show how people value life in Africa. Unacceptable

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