Life terms for ex-reservists

2012-07-04 00:00

TWO former Durban police reservists, Thabani Mchunu and Pretty Khuzwayo, were sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday for the murder of a colleague.

Reserve Sergeant Mandlenkosi Thusi was gunned down at his home in Inanda on May 8, 2009.

Mchunu (27) and Khuzwayo (40) were also sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for their role in the robbery of 15 firearms from the satellite police station where they were based in February 2009. Thusi was a key witness in that case.

Civilian Petros Sithole (40) was convicted only of robbery with aggravating circumstances of the firearms, for which he was also jailed for 15 years.

The court found that Thusi was murdered because he had pointed out Sithole as one of the robbers in a police identity parade.

Thusi’s widow, Nelly, and his daughter, Sphumelele, who attended the trial, told The Witness that they were “very happy” with the sentences meted out to the three accused.

Smiling with satisfaction they shook hands with the investigating officer, Ajith Singh Ganess of Durban’s Organised Crime Unit.

Nelly Thusi said her family had suffered great hardship as a result of losing her husband, who was a breadwinner. She survives by working as a hawker. She and her late husband had three children, aged 25, 20 and 14 years.

Judge Jacqui Henriques found that Mchunu had been instrumental in planning both the robbery of firearms at the police Joint Operations Centre (JOC) at Boscombe Terrace in Durban on February 26, 2009 and Thusi’s murder soon thereafter.

Khuzwayo had gone along with the plans.

The evidence showed that Khuzwayo gave Mchunu a firearm and had sat in a vehicle outside Thusi’s home while Mchunu and another man entered the house and Thusi was shot.

Passing sentence yesterday, Judge Henriques, sitting with assessor Gerhard Barnard, agreed with submissions by state advocate Rea Mina that there were circumstances that were out of the ordinary and were aggravating factors in the case.

These included the fact that of the 15 firearms stolen from the JOC, only five were recovered. This meant that 10 firearms were still illegally in circulation and more than likely being used to commit crimes, Mina submitted.

In addition she said Mchunu and Khuzwayo, who were police reservists at the time of the crimes, had been involved in robbing their own station and murdered their own colleague, Thusi, who was a key witness in the case.

Mina urged the court, for these reasons, to impose a sentence higher than the prescribed minimum of 15 years imprisonment for the robbery.

However, Judge Henriques said after considering all the relevant factors she believed that the minimum sentences prescribed by the legislature in respect of both the robbery and murder were appropriate.


Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.