Two gangsters whose murder victim shot dead one of their friends received double life sentences for both murders in the High Court in Pretoria.
Judge George Webster yesterday sentenced Sakkie Sindane and Themba William Mthimunye of Siyabuswa to life imprisonment for the April 2009 murders of Jimmy Mashiyane and their fellow gangster Enock Mabena.
Both accused were in their early 20s at the time.
The gang tried to rob Mashiyane of his car in the yard of his Siyabuswa home. Mashiyane opened fire on his assailants, wounding Mabena. He died in the shootout.
A fourth gangster, Oupa Sibande, was earlier sentenced to in effect 14 years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to the murders and other charges.
He testified that the gang was in a bakkie after earlier drinking beer at a local tavern, and saw Mashiyane driving past in a car “for which they had an order”.
Sindane asked if anyone in the bakkie had a firearm and when two were produced, the gang followed Mashiyane to his house.
After the shooting, they loaded Mabena into their vehicle.
However, on realising he was dead, they searched his body and divided his belongings between them before dumping it in a veld.
Sakkie Sindane and Mthimunye were sentenced to a further 45 years’ imprisonment for trying to rob Mashiyane of his car, rob a bystander of R5, and for the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
All the sentences would run concurrently.
Webster said Mabena’s body was hardly cold before his belongings were divided.
“I am not sure if carnivorous animals of the same species feast on the body of one of their own who had died.
“The body of the victim was accorded no respect and was merely dumped in the veld,” he said.
Webster described Sakkie Sindane and Mthimunye as heartless and ruthless.
He had closely watched them during the trial and they had the type of self-control few adults twice their age possessed, never displaying anger or concern.
All those who participated were quite comfortable and contented to take part in the robbery and afterwards acted as if they were just young people having fun together.
Webster rejected any suggestion that the accused might have been under the influence of alcohol or have been “pressured” by their peers to commit the crime.
He said the conduct of the accused and those in their company was clearly suggestive of a gang that was well experienced in what it did.