ANC wanted heavier jail term

2012-09-19 00:00

THE ANC would have liked to see a longer jail term for its Oshabeni youth league chairperson than the 22 years he received yesterday for the murder of his colleague.

Sifiso Khumalo pleaded guilty on Monday to the murder of Oshabeni South Coast ANC branch chairperson Dumisani Malunga. The hitman who shot him dead, identified only as “Alex”, remains at large.

ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said the organisation “would have loved to see a heavier sentence”.

Khumalo told the court that fellow ANC member Samuel Hle Cele, who had supported him to fill a vacant ward councillor position, had suggested that Malunga was a stumbling block to his election and should be killed.

Khumalo agreed and the plot was carried out.

Khumalo expressed remorse that the Oshabeni ANC secretary, Bheko Chiliza, was also slain by the killer, but did not admit responsibility for his murder on grounds that he had not foreseen that anyone else would be killed.

Passing sentence, acting high court judge Sibusiso Mngomezulu said the fact that Malunga’s murder was politically motivated and premeditated was an aggravating factor. “There is absolutely no justification for eliminating the deceased through the barrel of a gun for vying for the position of ward councillor,” he said.

He said that after careful consideration, the court believed that there were substantial and compelling circumstances to justify less than the prescribed sentence of life imprisonment.

These were that Khumalo pleaded guilty and expressed genuine remorse for his actions; that he had helped the police with their investigation; that he was willing to give evidence against his co-accused; and that there was hope that he could be rehabilitated.

The sentencing yesterday attracted the attention of KZN Legislature Speaker Peggy Nkonyeni and ANC regional secretary for Moses Mabida region Supa Zuma.

Zikalala told the media afterwards that Khumalo’s actions “did not belong in the ANC”.

In a written statement he said the ANC had “expected a harsher and tougher sentence which would act as a deterrent to others with the same motive”.

Contacted telephonically,Malunga’s brother, Bongani, said the family was happy with the sentence since Khumalo had indicated he was prepared to testify against the other perpetrators. However, he said the “person who instigated this must get life”.

Also speaking telephonically Chiliza’s brother, Answer, said the family couldn’t accept Khumalo’s apology, but that he deserved his 22-year sentence.

He said his brother was a breadwinner whose girlfriend was pregnant with twins due to be born in October.

He however welcomed the 22 year jail sentence imposed on Khumalo saying he deserved it.

Meanwhile Khumalo’s cousin, Simphiwe Hlophe, who attended the hearing, said the family was saddened by what he had done.

They were grateful the court had shown him mercy and given him a lesser sentence (than life imprisonment), he added.

The MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, Willies Mchunu, welcomed the sentence.

“ I salute the police who moved swiftly to apprehend those responsible in this case. This is a classic example that our police are determined to deal decisively with cases of political killing in KwaZulu-Natal. Political killings have no space in our society.”

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