Killer faces up to families of victims

2011-04-14 00:00

TEN years in jail seems to have worked wonders for a man serving a life sentence for the murder of a Correctional Services manager, Thuthukile Bhengu, in 2001.

Lucky Cyprian Mpungose swallowed his pride and apologised for having killed Bhengu at her home at New Prison in Pietermaritzburg.

His apology came during a ceremony at a Sesikhulile motivation workshop held at the prison on April 7.

Sesikhulile, which is sponsored by the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco), is Mpungose’s brainchild and is aimed at reconciling the prisoners with the outside world, including the victims of their crimes.

He told “the families of our victims” that “we are really sorry for what we did. While in prison we can now feel what victims and their families went through because of our actions.

“We are not going to hold grudges against those family members who are not yet ready to forgive us,” said Mpungose, who was also involved in the taxi industry in Pietermaritzburg.

Mpungose never mentioned Bhengu or her family members during his apology.

“I don’t want talk about the crime I’m here for. The judge did the right thing when he passed the sentence in June 21, 2002. But I’m no longer the same person who was sentenced,” he said.

At the time of her murder, Bhengu was said to be trying to eliminate corruption and maladministration at New Prison. It is alleged that she and Mpungose, a prison warder at the time, had serious differences, which resulted in her fatal shooting in June 2001.

Mpungose (47) was convicted of the murder with a colleague, Mungisi Dlamini, in June 2002.

Mpungose, who is serving his sentence in Westville Prison, spends most of his time conducting workshops for Sesikhulile. He is also planning to run the workshop in prisons across the country.

He appealed to young people not to commit crimes.

“Once you are inside prison you start to realise the consequences of crime, and how it affects the victims. We appeal to outsiders never to focus their lives in crime.

“As prisoners we are very concerned about the types of crimes committed in South Africa. Sometimes when we hear about such crime we become shocked because we have learnt,” he said.

He said he is sure that one day when he is released from prison he will find something worthwhile to do with his life.

Bhengu’s son, Kwesi (30), said he is prepared to forgive Mpungose.

“Since I’m now a minister for the Church of Scientology in Johannesburg I have learnt a lot about humanity, caring for other people and understanding why people do what they do.

“Therefore I forgive him. You can even pass this message to him,” he said.

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