Bodyguard gets life for killing IFP’s Cele

2011-07-18 00:00

A FORMER bodyguard who admitted he shot and killed his Inkatha Freedom Party employer at Mandini in northern KZN on the instructions of others who promised to pay him R240 000 was sentenced to life imprisonment by high court Judge David Ntshangase on Friday.

Jimbo Khulekani Cele (25) pleaded guilty to murdering IFP councillor Simon Shange at KwaMapatha, Mandini, on February 3 this year.

He also offered to testify against Shange’s ANC rival in the recent local government elections, Thokizani Mdletshe (34), whom he named in a statement to court as one of the people behind the murder and who is due to stand trial in the matter soon.

In his statement Cele said he was approached in January by Mdletshe and Zibuse Makhoba who “flicked lights” to stop him while he was travelling to Durban.

“Thokozani and Zibuse belonged to the African National Congress. They told me the deceased has a lot of support from the community and he will give them problems during the local government elections … Shange was a councillor in Ward 5, representing the IFP.”

Cele said the men asked him to give them information about Shange’s whereabouts so they could kill him. However, they “did not agree on anything” on that occasion.

He said he in fact reported the discussion to Shange who told him he had also been receiving death threats on his cellphone. Shange offered Cele a job as his bodyguard.

En route to Richards Bay on another day he again met up with Mdletshe and Zibuse, who offered him R240 000 for information about Shange and on that occasion he agreed to help them. However, he said it was never agreed that he would have to shoot Shange himself.

At the beginning of February Mdletshe telephoned him and Cele informed him that Shange would be going to a place called Ndulinde. Mdletshe suggested that this was be a “good opportunity to kill [Shange]” .

On February 3 while Cele and Shange were travelling to the home of a traditional healer, Thokozani Mdletshe, Zibuse and Khetha Mdletshe stopped Shange’s vehicle and asked for a lift. After they boarded the vehicle he saw Thokozani take out a firearm and direct the vehicle towards Ndulinde.

At a certain spot Mdletshe instructed them to alight from the vehicle and they did so. He then took Shange’s gun, cellphone and wallet and handed the firearm to Cele, instructing him to shoot Shange. “I did not respond but I did as Thokozani instructed me,” he said. Cele said he was never paid for what he did.

Judge Ntshangase found there were no compelling or substantial circumstances that would justify a lesser sentence than the prescribed life imprisonment for the premeditated killing.

He said Shange entrusted his life to Cele by offering him work as his bodyguard. While accepting it was not part of the initial agreement that Cele was to shoot Shange, he carried out the agreement to give information and said Cele’s expectation to be paid for what he did added to the heinousness of the crime.

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