The Pretoria High Court sentenced a hit man from Nkandla, Mjabuliseni Linda Luthuli (36), to five life terms for five counts of murder, 20 years imprisonment for two counts of attempted murder, and 45 years imprisonment for unlawful possession of a semi-automatic firearm, unlawful possession of a fully automotive firearm as well as unlawful possession of ammunition.  The court ordered that the sentence should run concurrently with that of life and that the accused be declared unfit to possess a firearm.

Furthermore, the court made an order that the police should conduct a search and seizure of firearms and ammunition at Luthuli’s property and that the families of the deceased as well as the complainants in the matter should be informed so that they can make representation should Luthuli be eligible for parole.

On 02 December 2019, the three deceased Ndifelani Morris Matomela, Emmanuel Samuel Vukeya, and Bonginkosi Mishack Sithole, who were taxi operators of the Pretoria, Randburg, Soshanguve (PRS) Taxi Association, were in a taxi parked next to the road in Wierdabrug when a white Mercedes Benz sedan stopped. Three armed males including Luthuli, came out of the car and started shooting at the taxi, and drove off to Olievenhoutbosch taxi rank.

When Luthuli and others got to the rank, they came out of the car and started shooting again. Two passengers Kedibone Nkosi and Sello Douglas Ramaite were shot dead while two bystanders were injured.  Four of the deceased died on the scene while one died on arrival in hospital due to gunshot wounds. Luthuli was arrested in the hospital the same day, after he was admitted for gunshot wounds. He confessed to the police that he was hired by the Alexandra Randburg Midrand Taxi Association (ARMSTA), to kill the deceased in return receive a payment of R150 000 upon completion of the job. 

In court, he, pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied committing the offences, and asked the court to consider the three years he spent in prison awaiting trial when imposing a sentence.  However, the state was able to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt and lead evidence that Luthului was indeed a hitman hired by the ARMS taxi association to kill members of PRS taxi association. 

In aggravation, the prosecutor Advocate Molatlhwa Mashuga told the court that Luthuli had no regard for the sanctity of the life of other human beings. He killed people without any provocation but simply for monetary gains. Furthermore, he asked the court to impose a sentence of life imprisonment.  The judge agreed with the state that a sentence of life imprisonment was the only appropriate sentence because Luthuli committed serious offenses and showed no remorse for his actions.  One of the victims is still suffering from the consequences of the shooting. Therefore, being a first-time offender will not help him.

The Director of Public Prosecutions Adv Sibongile Mzinyathi welcomes the sentence and applauds the hard work of the investigating officer Sargent Phuti Moloto that lead to the conviction and sentence.

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