Life terms for former soldiers upheld

2013-04-24 00:00

TWO former part-time SANDF soldiers will continue serving life sentences for the murders of three civilians in 1998 after high court judges yesterday dismissed their appeal against their sentences.

Ntuthuko Zulu (30) of Melmoth and Bhekinkosi Ndlovu (25) of Eshowe were sentenced to undergo life imprisonment by Judge Dumile Kondile in 2001 for the murders of Vincent Buthelezi, Sikhumbuzo Ziqubu and Christopher Nxumalo.

The three were shot dead with automatic rifles at the Mandini army base.

Zulu was convicted of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm of a fourth civilian, Bafana Douglas Mahaye, by stabbing him with a knife. Mahaye managed to escape.

Zulu was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for the assault, and the sentence was ordered to run concurrently with the life term.

In a reserved judgment handed down yesterday, judges Anton van Zyl and Rishi Seegobin found no irregularities had occurred with regard to the sentencing and confirmed the sentences imposed on the two men.

According to the evidence at the trial, Zulu, who was a corporal, was appointed section leader of a platoon that was assigned to conduct a foot patrol in the Mandini area on October 10, 1998.

They came across Mahaye returning home from work. They stopped and searched him and found a knife on him.

The court found that for reasons unknown Zulu assaulted Mahaye and stabbed him in the chest with the knife.

Mahaye broke loose and escaped.

Later the patrol came across Buthlezi, Ziqubu and Nxumalo. Witnesses saw them being taken captive by the platoon and taken to the army base under guard.

Later that afternoon the soldiers reported that they had been attacked by four civilians at the army base and retaliated by firing in self-defence.

It was found that Zulu’s firearm had fired 12 shots at the scene and Ndlovu’s two shots.

The trial court rejected the soldiers’ version that they were acting in self-defence and found them guilty of murder.

The trial court also found that knives had deliberately been placed near the bodies of two victims to create the false impression that they were the aggressors.

At the time of the incident, Zulu had served 12 years and Ndlovu 10 years as part-time members of the SANDF.


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