MK soldier gets two life sentences

2012-03-23 14:26

A former Umkhonto weSizwe cadre smiled today after being sentenced to two life terms for murdering his daughter and her friend.

The High Court in Pretoria sentenced Donald Makhura, 48, to life imprisonment for the December 4, 2009 murders of his “daughter” Thapelo – Makhura denied paternity – and her friend Raiseba Martin Ndhlela.

The two victims were sitting in a car in front of the Mamelodi West house of Makhura’s estranged wife Miriam when they were gunned down.

Makhura, a former MK and SANDF soldier, was a law enforcement analyst at the department of home affairs before his arrest in 2009.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1992 for murdering a policeman, but his record was expunged after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission granted him amnesty in 1999.

Makhura has resolutely maintained his innocence, even after his conviction, claiming he was the victim of a plot hatched by his older brother Patrick.

He was convicted on the strength of evidence by a neighbour, who had seen him walking away from the shootings, and his cellphone records which placed him in Mamelodi West at the time of the incident.

His wife testified that she had obtained a protection order against him because he had sexually and physically abused her and her daughter. On numerous occasions he had also threatened to kill them.

Judge Mahomed Ismail said Makhura seemed to be the type of person who instilled fear in others and who was easily angered.

His daughter had annoyed him to the extent that he referred to her in court as “that woman’s daughter“.

Ismail said while it was Makhura’s right to believe he had been wrongly convicted, he seemed to blame everyone around him for the consequences of his actions.

“Two people in the prime of their lives met their end at your hands. You displayed no remorse and suggested you were the victim of a conspiracy,” the judge said.

He said the crime had been carefully planned and carried out with military precision, with the element of surprise - during the night.
The victims had posed no threat and Ndhlela, who had no dealings or problems with Makhura, met his untimely death because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Ismail said although Makhura’s wife had asked the court to send him to prison for the rest of his natural life, the court was not permitted by law to impose such a punishment.

The law permitted a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and an accused had to serve at least 25 years, after which he could be considered for parole.

Judge Ismail said there was no doubt that Makhura should be incarcerated, and found that there were no compelling reasons to deviate from the prescribed sentence of life imprisonment.

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