Double murder accused jailed

2017-11-22 06:02

Convicted Grootvlei prison warder Dingaan Steven Mqithi (51) will swap his brown uniform of the state for the orange uniform of a prisoner after receiving a life sentence.

The Free State High Court at its sitting in Sasolburg on Wednesday (15/11) sentenced Mqithi to two terms of life imprisonment after finding him guilty on two counts of murder and malicious damage to property.

Mqithi was found guilty of the double murder of his ex-wife Malefu Mqithi and Elias Mazibuko in August 2015. The murder was executed at a bridge between Sasolburg and Deneysville by him and co-accused Thembisile Hermans (37), Alex Dindi (33) and Abram Mqithi (41).

Col Thandi Mbambo, provincial police spokesperson, said the three accomplices pleaded guilty to the murder during the trial last year. Hermans was sentenced to 24 years’ imprisonment for each count of murder, while Dindi was sentenced to 22 years and Abram Mqithi to 20 years for each count. The court ruled that their sentences would run concurrently.

Mbambo said it had emerged in court that the four killers had strangled and assaulted Malefu inside a vehicle until she was unconscious. Thereafter, Mqithi set the vehicle alight with Malefu still inside.

The court heard that the former prison warder had hit Mazibuko against the head with a rock and thereafter instructed the three co-accused to stab Mazibuko to death with knives.

Mbambo said police findings had revealed Mazibuko had been stabbed 20 times. She said the four accused had fled the crime scene when they saw another vehicle approaching.

“They (the accused) left the scene and drove back to Bloemfontein, where they were staying. The driver of the oncoming vehicle managed to extinguish the fire and alerted the police,” said Mbambo.

She said although Malefu had been rescued from the flames, she died three days later in the Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein.

Mbambo said two of the four murderers had made the false claim that they were selling sheep to lure the deceased into meeting with them. They claimed if the sheep were to be collected, it would cost R200, but if it had to be delivered, it would cost R500.

She said the victims had decided to follow the two accused to fetch the sheep.

“They stopped at the bridge between Sasolburg and Deneysville. The two men and Mazibuko went down (next to) the bridge, where they found the two other accused waiting for them.”

She said Dingaan Mqithi hit Mazibuko with a rock and instructed his co-accused to commit the stabbing.

Mbambo said the killers carried one of the co-accused to the top of the bridge, holding the other as though they were carrying a sheep. Malefu opened the car for them to put the “sheep” inside the vehicle.

The four murderers then strangled and assaulted Malefu until she was unconscious.

Mqithi then set the vehicle alight.

Mbambo said Dingaan Mqithi was arrested in 2016 following intensive investigation by Sgt Dean April.

She said the breakthrough had followed the arrest of three accomplices.

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