Teenager admits he set robbery victims alight

2017-06-15 13:45
“Lindelani told me not to do it. Simiso looked shocked and frightened and asked me what I was doing. I nevertheless took out a lighter and set them both alight. The three of us fled the scene and left with the deceased’s motor vehicle."

“Lindelani told me not to do it. Simiso looked shocked and frightened and asked me what I was doing. I nevertheless took out a lighter and set them both alight. The three of us fled the scene and left with the deceased’s motor vehicle." (File)

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A high court judge will consider a probation officer’s report before deciding what sentence to impose on a 19-year-old man who admitted setting fire to a woman and her daughter while they were alive on February 19.

Thembekile Memela — a bank manager at Harding — burned to death, but her teenaged daughter survived.

On Wednesday Nhlanhla Ndadana (19) of KwaMachi area, Harding, pleaded guilty to a total of five counts of housebreaking with the intention to rob and robbery with aggravating circumstances, two counts of kidnapping, as well as murder and attempted murder arising from the incident.

His trial was separated from that of two co-accused, Lindelani Ngubelanga and Simiso Thuli, both 19, who have pleaded not guilty.

In a written plea read to Judge Pete Koen by legal aid attorney Pauline Andrews, Ndadana said he and his accomplices had planned to break into the home of Memela, who lived in their area­.

They had planned the housebreaking to get money to buy drugs, he said.

“Lindelani was armed with a hammer and Simiso was armed with a knife … I broke the sliding door of the deceased [Memela’s] home with my shoulder,” he said.

He said he went to the bedroom with Simiso, who had a knife and stabbed Memela on her leg.

“Simiso tied [her] hands with a rope while I grabbed the deceased and held her mouth to prevent her from screaming,” he said.

Ndadana said in the dining room he asked Memela’s daughter for the car keys. She pointed to her mother’s handbag. Ndadana said he removed the keys and bank cards from the handbag and took the teen’s cellphone.

Memela was picked up and placed into the boot of her car, a silver grey Audi A4, and the daughter was ordered to get into the passenger side of the vehicle. Ndadana said they drove to Harding where he went to the boot and requested the bank card pin numbers from Memela.

She gave him the numbers.

After finding the ATM at Harding was closed they then drove to Kokstad.

“Lindelani and I proceeded to the ATM. With the assistance of the security guard I drew an amount of R4 500,” he said.

After this they had to refuel the car because it had run out of petrol.

Leaving Simiso to guard Memela and her daughter “in a bush”, Ndadana and Lindelani set out on foot to buy petrol.

“As Lindelani and I proceeded on foot to the garage to buy petrol, I asked him what was to happen with the [daughter] and the deceased [Memela]. I asked him whether we should burn them as they knew him and Simiso very well. Lindelani never responded to my questioning,” he said.

Ndadana said they had bought four bottles of petrol and returned to the bush. He said at that point Simiso took a hammer and hit Memela once with it. Because it was dark he could not see where he hit her.

“Lindelani then took the hammer … and hit the [daughter] with it on her hand.”

“Whilst they were assaulting them, I poured petrol on [them],” he said.

“Lindelani told me not to do it. Simiso looked shocked and frightened and asked me what I was doing. I nevertheless took out a lighter and set them both alight. The three of us fled the scene and left with the deceased’s motor vehicle,” he said.

After convicting Ndadana, Judge Koen adjourned the case to August 25 pending a probation officer’s report.


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