Newcastle taxi killers get 24 years

2011-04-14 00:00

TWO Newcastle men who pleaded guilty to murdering a taxi driver to evade arrest for robbing him of his vehicle and cellphone were yesterday jailed for an effective 24 years by Judge Trevor Gorven in the high court in Pietermaritzburg.

Accused Siyabonga Selepe (25) and Ayanda Maduna (20) admitted that they and two other men flagged down taxi driver Francis Msimango, pretended that they were passengers, overpowered him, bound his hands and feet with shoe laces, and strangled him using a belt. He also had injuries to the head and arms.

They drove towards Nkandla and threw Msimango’s body in a pit toilet. His body was recovered 10 days later and during that period Msimango’s family endured the agony of not knowing what had happened to him. Msimango was also known to have helped support his family.

Gorven found that Selepe and Maduna are candidates for rehabilitation: they pleaded guilty and indicated that they are prepared to assist in the prosecution of the other two suspects. They also tried to improve themselves by schooling to grade 11 level although they failed grade 12, assisted their families, they are young and they first-time offenders.

These amounted to substantial and compelling circumstances justifying deviation from the prescribed sentences of life for the murder and 15 years for the aggravated robbery.

He imposed 24 years for the murder and 12 years for the robbery and ordered that they run concurrently. The non-parole period is 16 years.

Funukwazi Shabalala and Simphiwe Mtambo, who allegedly took part in the murder and robbery, are to be arraigned. They have apparently indicated that they will plead not guilty.

— Own Correspondent.

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