Teacher gets 2 life sentences for murder

2014-09-20 09:00

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Pietermaritzburg - A high school teacher who burnt to death his former lover and her 9-year-old son was given two life sentences by the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Friday.

Judge Anton van Zyl said Ndumiso Khwela's murder of Bonkele Sibiya and son Mfanafuthi caused revulsion and the sentence was not disproportionate to the heinousness of him using a fire accelerant to kill them.

Prosecutor Frank van Heerden said evidence showed the victims were alive when set alight, their lungs were "cooked" and their lower limbs carbonised.

The fact that Khwela had acquired and used the fire accelerant showed he had planned the murders. The murders were committed when schools broke up for the Easter holidays.

Sibiya was teaching in Bergville, near Ladysmith, when Khwela offered her and her son a lift to their Durban home.

He blamed Sibiya, a former colleague, for infecting him with HIV.

En route to Durban he turned off at an isolated spot and attacked them.

Van Heerden said it was not known if he tied them up or if they were unconscious, enabling him to brutalise them.

Van Zyl said Khwela murdered the boy to avoid detection for murdering his mother.

Defence counsel Ishy Khan suggested a 25-year jail term for Khwela as he was a BSc university graduate who could be re-integrated into society and play a useful role.

Khwela however showed no remorse. He denied the charges, saying he dropped them off at Nchanga so that they could take a taxi to Durban.

Van Zyl said because of the prevalence of violence against women and children, retribution and deterrence should be paramount in punishment for such crimes.

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