A FARM MURDERER SENTENCED TO TWO LIFE SENTENCES PLUS 43 YEARS IMPRISONMENT

A FARM MURDERER SENTENCED TO TWO LIFE SENTENCES PLUS 43 YEARS IMPRISONMENT

The Limpopo Polokwane High Court has convicted and sentenced, Lazarus Justice Mohapi (28), a Lesotho national, to two life sentences plus 43 years imprisonment, for a range of offences, which include conspiracy to commit robbery with aggravating circumstances, two counts of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition and being an illegal immigrant.

During the trial, the accused pleaded not guilty, and the state witnesses testified that the accused had two accomplices who were employed at Redwing Investment Farm in Bela-Bela. They conspired to rob their employer, a businessman, and farm owner, the deceased Simon Malebane. On 17 August 2019, in the evening, they attacked the deceased while he was opening his gate at the farm. They then accosted, struck him with iron rods, and kidnapped him to his farmhouse.

Upon arrival at the house, they shot and killed one of the farm caretakers, the deceased Leburu Ngoagamobe, and they further shot and strangled Malebana. They then stole firearms, riffles, and cash amounts of R200 000. After the ordeal, they fled the scene, but they were arrested in 2021 after he posted a picture of himself on Facebook.

In aggravation of the sentence, the state Adv. Lerato Mohlaka, called the deceased Malebane’s brother, Kgoshi Malesela Jonas Malebane, to testify. He stated in court that the deceased had business responsibilities, a role in the Chieftaincy of Moshate wa Bakgatla ba Malebane ba Makutu and his family. He had more than 2000 employees working for him, and some lost employment due to his death. He then said that the deceased was a mentor to young business enterprises. The state Prosecutor argued that the offences were serious and heinous, and she further prayed for life imprisonment.

In sentencing, Judge George Phathudi, remarked that the accused and his accomplices conspired to rob a man who fed them and mercilessly killed their co-worker and thereafter fled the scene back to the Kingdom of Lesotho. The court further agreed with the state that the sentences argued were fair and deserving.

The National Prosecuting Authority welcomes the sentences and applauds the good work done by advocate Lerato Mohlaka and investigating officer, Captain Dana Smith from Bela-Bela Detective Unit. We hope that perpetrators who attack vulnerable farm owners will learn from the sentence imposed.

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