Judge tells murderer he might meet Jesus in prison

2015-05-20 16:03

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Nelspruit - A high court judge has told a man accused of murdering a Pakistani businessman that he has a chance of meeting Jesus Christ in prison, where he will be serving his life sentence.

Bongani Mjoki Mnisi, 26, from Naas near the Mozambican and Swaziland border, was sentenced when appearing in the Nelspruit circuit of the Pretoria High Court on Wednesday.

"You shot a foreigner. You'll be with people of your kind in jail. Learn trades like carpentry or others. You might meet Jesus Christ there, and come back preaching," said Judge Sipho Sithole, when passing sentence.

Mnisi was arrested alongside two others, Xolani Chauke, 25, and Njabulo Mathonsi, 27, following the attempted robbery and shooting of Abdul Rehman Ibrahim Patel, in Block C of Nkomazi on February 23 2010.

Chauke and Mathonsi were sentenced to life imprisonment in Mnisi's absence on December 17 last year after Mnisi absconded from court.

The court heard that he was rearrested in Pienaar near Mbombela this month, after disappearing for a year without trace.

Chauke and Mathonsi applied for leave to appeal against their conviction and sentencing, but their case was removed from the court roll after they failed to pay their legal representative. Nico du Plessis, who represented them, said they decided to approach Legal Aid for their appeal.

Sithole said, based on evidence, Mnisi paid R150 and travelled from Naas to Komatipoort to buy the murder weapon, a firearm.

"You said you needed it because you wanted some money. The poor victim was a foreigner who was honestly trying to make a living by running a general shop. Why didn't you open yours and leave others to their businesses?" the judge asked.

The judge said xenophobia has become an issue in modern day South Africa.

"This is a morbid hatred for foreigners. By so doing, you may have consciously promoted it in the country. The majority of people are against this morbid interest," he said.

Sithole said Mnisi's defense had proved the accused was not a good man who did not show any remorse.

"He concluded there was none displayed by you. He said the court should interpret the lack of remorse as your constitutional right to the State's case. You chose the wrong path by being a criminal," he said.

Sithole said crime is running rampant in the country and had to be prevented by the courts.

"If not, we may live like animals in the Kruger National Park where the strong kill the weak. We are not animals. There is evidence that the deceased was shot while trying to hand over the money and cigarettes as you demanded," he said.

The judge sentenced Mnisi to life imprisonment for murder, 10 years for attempted armed robbery, six years for illegal possession of a firearm and four years for illegal possession of ammunition.

The sentences will run concurrently.

The judge said Mnisi had automatically disqualified himself from applying for a firearm license. 

Read more on:    nelspruit  |  xenophobia  |  crime

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