Threats to trial judge

2015-08-12 10:23
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LIFE sentences were imposed yesterday on three men arising from two murders amidst information that the life of the presiding judge and other court officials had been threatened last week. One murder was a political killing in Estcourt in 2010.

It is unknown from whom the threats emanated.

The Witness was reliably informed that court officials became aware last Friday of a threat made against the lives of high court judge Mohini Moodley, state advocate Ncedile Dunywa, the investigating officer in the case, as well as court interpreter Brenda van Wyk.

The trial was swiftly moved from rural Madadeni to Pietermaritzburg for safety reasons and was concluded yesterday amidst tight security in the Pietermaritzburg high court.

Khumbulani Madlala (25), Msizi Majola (31) and Thembinkosi Makhathini (30) were convicted earlier this month of the politically motivated murder of Mazwi Mnikati on July 21, 2010.

Madlala was also found guilty of the taxi violence-related murder of another councillor, Mcebisi Patrick Duma of iMbabazane Municipality, at Estcourt on February 16, 2011.

The court found that Mnikati’s murder was an act of vengeance due to political tensions within the IFP which led to an attack a few weeks earlier on the brother of one of the accused, Mthembeni Majola, who was left wheelchair-bound.

Mnikati was shot dead at his home in Emabhalonini area near Estcourt after the assassins broke open the door and opened fire on him on July 21, 2010. He died of multiple gunshot wounds to his face, chest and abdomen.

Councillor Duma, at that stage a new member of the NFP, was gunned down in his vehicle near Wembezi township on February 16, 2011.

Sentencing the men to life imprisonment for each of the murders they were respectively convicted of yesterday, Judge Moodley said the kind of justice the accused believed in, namely an “eye for an eye” and “any type of vigilantism” has no place in this country.

Speaking to The Witness after the sentencing, Mthembeni Majola said he and his family plan to appeal the conviction and sentence on behalf of his brother. “We see this as a weak case based only on the evidence of a 204 [accomplice] witness and we are going to appeal,” he said

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  judge  |  trial

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