Trio guilty of 3 murders

2019-12-11 15:05

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Two men and a woman were on Wednesday convicted of the murder of three people whom they secretly insured, plied with alcohol and then killed to cash in on the policies.

Pietermaritzburg high court Judge Piet Bezuiden­hout found that Joseph Khanyile, Mandla Khumalo and former school teacher Doris Zaca killed Mzo Zuma in August 2015, Sonosakhe Mdlalose in March 2016 and Bongani Gcabashe in August that year.

Their bodies were found next to the road in the Greytown/Ematimatolo area.

The trio were also convicted of attempting to murder a mentally challenged woman, Thandeka Gwala, on November 20, 2015 in Copesville.

The dead were given alcohol before they were driven over by vehicles or shot.

Judge Bezuidenhout also found them guilty of fraud. He found they conspired with each other to pretend to the insurance companies Avbob, Clientele, Discovery, Hollard, Old Mutual, Regent Life, Sanlam and Standard Bank that they were authorised to claim on the policies of the people they had killed.

The judge said that from the evidence, it is apparent that the accused were involved in the planning of the killings. They had taken out policies on their victims’ lives and received benefits from them. It is also clear that on each occasion, the actual killing was done by Khanyile and Khumalo and that Zaca was one of the masterminds behind the planning, he said.

Judge Bezuidenhout added that any discrepancies there may be between the evidence of the state witnesses was of a minor nature and not material. From the evidence of the state witnesses it was established that there was a conspiracy to kill people.

Khanyile and Khumalo said they had various meetings with Zaca and three others and that they came to Pietermaritzburg on various occasions but that they did not plan any killing.

The meeting in Greytown was to establish taxi routes but no explanation was given for all the subsequent meetings that were held, said Judge Bezuidenhout.

Regarding the fraud charge, the judge said there has been potential prejudice of approximately R5 million. The insurance companies were deceived when the policies were taken out. The accused were aware that the people who they got life cover for were going to be killed for the policies to pay out.

False information was supplied to the insurance companies relating to telephone numbers, bank accounts, and addresses with the intention to defraud the companies.

Although Khanyile and Khumalo may not have completed the forms themselves for the insurance claims, the evidence indicates that they were aware that policies were taken out on the lives of these people that they were to be killed, that policies would be paid out and that they would then receive payment for killing their victims.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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