Slain Rhythm City actor's mother asks court to mete out harshest punishment

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The late Dumi Masilela
The late Dumi Masilela
  • Five men were found guilty of murdering Rhythm City actor, Dumisani Masilela.
  • Masilela was shot during a hijacking in Tembisa in 2017.
  • During sentencing proceedings, Masilela's mother asked the court to give his killers the punishment they deserve.

"Those who showed no mercy to my son, taking his life in a cold blooded manner, causing a young bride to be a widow, that they shall pay the price for their barbaric act."

Those were the words of Sabata Masilela, who testified in aggravation of sentence against the five men who murdered her son, Rhythm City actor, Dumisani Masilela, in 2017. 

Sabata was calm, but stern, as she testified in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Monday, exactly five years to the day that Masilela was shot during a botched hijacking in Tembisa. 

Sabata said:

I'm a little bit shaken because, on this day, is the date when Dumisani was shot and, on 3 August [2017] in the early hours of the morning, he succumbed to the wounds.

She explained to the court that the actions of Bongani Masombuka, 34, Sfundo Nkosi, 30, Khumbudzo Mukhuba, 27, Brian Makhubedu, 24, and Mashudu Malema, 31, had adversely affected her entire family, who were already dealing with loss at the time. 

The court heard that Masilela's father had succumbed to cancer just a year before the murder and the entire family had still been in mourning. After Masilela's death, the family arrived at her home to mourn. 

Masilela's elderly aunt sat on the couch, crying uncontrollably, just before collapsing and dying, Sabata told the court. She said the aunt, who was in shock, went into a diabetic coma. 

ALSO READ | Dumisani Masilela murder: Two of the 5 men convicted maintain their innocence

"In the morning, I left the lifeless body of my son in the hospital. Later in the afternoon, I had the lifeless body of his aunt on my floor."

Sabata said, after her husband died, she was diagnosed with depression. On the day that Masilela died, she had just been released from hospital. Masilela had fetched her from hospital and said he had to take a quick trip to Tembisa.

She said:

I did not know that would be the last time I saw him alive and heard his reassuring voice.

Already suffering from depression, her son's death sent her spiralling further downwards as her mental health deteriorated. 

"I was overwhelmed with shock, and my health situation worsened."

Not able to cope with the grief, Sabata, an English teacher, also lost her job. She testified that one of Masilela's brothers had turned to alcohol and drugs after the murder. During her testimony, Sabata only looked at her son's killers once. She told the court that some of the men in the dock had attended the same school where she taught in Ivory Park. 

Humble and loving

Sabata described her son as a respectful child, who was never "big-headed".

She said he was always humble and never conducted himself as a celebrity. He would speak to everyone and loved giving his time to others. 

Sabata said:

His career was beginning to blossom. He had big dreams for [the] youth, elderly and orphans of Tembisa.

"He loved people. Dumi was so determined to help people who cannot help themselves." She added that, before Masilela became a musician and an actor, he was a professional soccer player, having played for Tuks and then SuperSport United. 

Faith restored 

Sabata told the court that her faith in the judicial system had been restored following the guilty verdict. 

"There was a time during the trial that my trust and faith were shaken." Sabata said she had overheard a conversation between two people about money that was exchanged to apparently make the case go away.

"At that moment, I gave up and I accepted my son's murderers would go free."

Last week, Judge Mokhine Mosopa found all five men guilty of the murder of Masilela. 

The court found the five had hijacked another vehicle on the day and were attempting to hijack Masilela when he was shot in the stomach. 

News24 previously reported that, after being shot once, Masilela managed to drive himself to hospital where he underwent surgery. He died later that day as a result of his injuries.

The sentencing proceedings are expected to continue on Tuesday.


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