Kraaifontein vigilante killing ringleader gets life

2017-11-01 19:14
Police. (News24, file)

Police. (News24, file)

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Cape Town - The ringleader of the 2014 vigilante killing of six people near Kraaifontein, north of Cape Town, was sentenced to life in prison through a plea agreement, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Wednesday.

NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said Bangikhaya Koni was found guilty on six counts of kidnapping, and another six counts of murder in the mass killing carried out in Joostenbergvlakte, a rural area between Paarl and Cape Town.

He was sentenced to five years for each count of kidnapping, and to life imprisonment for each of the murders of Zola Gayiya, Emanuel Barnes, Sandile Ngxabela, Sakhele Ngxabela, Lulama Dunga and Mhlanganisi Mlanjeni. 

The court ordered that his sentences run concurrently.

"This means the accused will effectively serve life imprisonment," said Ntabazalila in a statement welcoming the judgment.

It was not immediately clear what the outcome was for the others in the group.

Deceased suspected of robbery, murder

In December 2014, the bodies of the six men were found by passers-by at Joostenbergvlakte. They were lying face down, with their hands tied behind their backs. They appeared to have been stoned to death.

Ntabazalila said that Koni entered into a plea and sentencing agreement with the State and explained his role as that of a ringleader of 16 men from Engcobo, Eastern Cape, involved in tracking down the killers of a fellow Engcobo resident.

Ntabazalila said that according to Koni, the trouble started when Gayiya, Barnes, the Ngxabela brothers, Dunga and Mlanjeni were suspected of robbing and killing Tsutsutsu Ntsundu from Engcobo in the Eastern Cape.

Ntsundu was on his way home from work as a security guard. His firearm was also stolen from him.

Ntabazalila said Koni and others from Engcobo decided that they would help Ntsundu's family find his killers. 

Koni alleged that Ntsundu's brother offered R3 000 for information on the identity of his brother's killers. 

R10 000 for revenge killing

A group set off to look for the killers. They were advised by another young man, named only as Biza, that Dunga was involved in the killing, and that the actual killers were the Ngxabelas.

Koni returned to the deceased's brother and told him what he had found out.  

"The brother then told Koni that the killers were gangsters and he offered R10 000 for them to be traced and killed, continued Ntabazalila. 

The group got hold of Dunga, gagged and tortured him.

He gave them the names of others who were allegedly involved in the killing and where the firearm and ammunition of the deceased were hidden. 

Four of the deceased young men were lured to Koni's house where they believed they would discuss with Koni allegations that they had stolen one of his shacks. 

Stabbed with a sword

Upon their arrival at Koni's house, they were overpowered and had their legs and arms tied up in the same room as Dunga and where Gayina was also being held captive. 

"The group decided not to take the six suspects to the police as they believed they would be kept for a short period and released," said Ntabazalila.

Because they did not have a gun or bullets, they put them in a bakkie and took them to to Joostenbergvlakte.

The six men, who were tied up and lying on the ground, were stabbed with a sword and other sharp objects.

"He admits that he also took a stone and hit one of the deceased and thereafter the group stoned the deceased," said Ntabazalila. 

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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