Rinesh Maharaj’s killers get life plus 15 years

2010-04-02 00:00

TWO men convicted of the “brutal and senseless” murder in 2006 of Rinesh Maharaj of Greytown for his cellphone and R1 000 cash were each sentenced to life plus 15 years’ imprisonment by high court Judge Gregory Kruger yesterday.

They are Mondli Nxumalo (32) and Jabulani Chonco (42).

A third man, Bongani Sibisi (29), who was convicted of being an accessory after the fact and with robbery with aggravating circumstances, was effectively jailed for 15 years.

The judge said it was aggravating that Maharaj offered to entertain the three accused and their three women friends on the night in question — June 30, 2006 — by buying them drinks and socialising with them.

“Instead of accepting the kindness offered, you instead took his life,” Kruger said.

“There is no place in society for people like you,” he added.

The court accepted evidence by state witnesses showing that Nxumalo and Chonco assaulted Maharaj and then forced him to accompany them in his vehicle — his employer’s Toyota Rav — in order to extract his bank card and PIN number.

Having done so, they left the bank card at the roadside for Sibisi to find. They telephoned Sibisi, who solicited the aid of the two women in his company to find the card and withdraw R1 000 from an ATM.

After shooting Maharaj, Nxumalo and Chonco abandoned his vehicle and fled to Johannesburg.

The judge said Nxumalo and Chonco drove Maharaj to a deserted place and shot him when they could easily have left him there.

He said it was aggravating that the accused used an R4 or R5 assault rifle to commit the murder.

“The issue of these firearms is reserved exclusively for the armed forces or the police service.

“How you came to be in possession of one of these weapons is unknown.

“Perhaps there is some truth in the allegation that you claimed to have friends in the police force,” said the judge.

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