State asks for life for taxi killers

2013-06-24 00:00

PARENTS of two metered taxi drivers who were murdered for their vehicles in 2010, poured out their grief in the Pietermaritzburg high court on Friday.

Janet Ndlovu, who lost her son, Spha­mandla Zondi (22), wept as she testified that when she finally found out about his fate on July 13, 2010 her son had already been buried by the state. He was shot dead on May 30, 2010.

Ndlovu said she had applied for his body to be exhumed and buried at home.

This was successful, but she is now haunted by the image of his body.

“His spirit is always with me at gatherings of the family and we always leave a space for him …

“During these gatherings I will not show how it affects me. I go to my bedroom and cry alone,” she told acting judge Thoba Poyo-Dlwati.

Sibusiso Hlela, who is an educator and father of another murder victim, Xolani Hlela who was gunned down and robbed of his metered taxi on the night of July 10, 2010, said his son’s death had a big impact on the family. He was looked up to by his siblings.

He said his son had aspired to become a policeman. Both victims left behind young children.

Acting Judge Poyo-Dlwati will impose sentences on the killers — Samkelo Maphumulo (34) and Siyabonga Zimu (27) — tomorrow.

While the defence asked the court to consider the accused’s prospects for rehabilitation, state advocate Dheelan Naidoo urged the judge to sentence the accused to life imprisonment for each of the two murders, to 15 year’ imprisonment on three counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances and to 10 years’ imprisonment for the attempted murder of another metered taxi driver, Zephrid Nxumalo, who was also shot on June 26, but died in hospital later of an unrelated cause.

Naidoo said the murders had been premeditated and planned.

The accused’s plan was “quite ingenious”.

They’d come from Durban, obtain the number of the targeted taxi driver and then phone him after dark, knowing that he would be alone and vulnerable. They would then drive their victims to an isolated spot, kill them and make off with their vehicles.

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