Two men from Lesotho were handed two life terms after they were found guilty of two counts of murder by the High Court of South Africa: Free State Division. Acting Judge Nompumelelo Gusha, sentenced Tumelloana Khutlisi (29) and Tebeho Mohapinyana (41) for killing Tello Lefu, on 18 November 2021, and Zulunyele Damoyi21 November 2021. The two accused were further sentenced to 56 years imprisonment after they were convicted of three counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, theft, illegal possession of ammunition and contravention of the Immigration Act.

On 18 November 2021, the accused entered Lefu’s house in Zamdela, Sasolburg, shot him in the abdomen, and took some of his belonging before they left. Three days later, they entered Damoyi’s shop, shot and killed him. They were arrested on 23 November 2021 and were found in possession of some of the items stolen from the deceased.

Khutlisi and Mohapinyana denied being involved in the killing of the two deceased even though some of the witnesses saw them running out of Lefu’s house and Damoyi’s shop after the gunshots. They also could not explain why they were in possession of items taken from the deceased.

In aggravation, the State Prosecutor, Advocate Dansi Mpemvane, presented a victim impact statement (VIS) facilitated by Court Preparation Officer Kelly Mbasa. The VIS were from Lefu’s wife and Damoyi’s daughter, and they both stated that their deaths affected the families because the deceased were breadwinners.

Mpemvane further told the court that the accused did not any respect the right to life, which is protected by the Constitution.

“Despite being in the country illegally, the accused committed heinous crimes by killing two innocent men. They, at some point, rented a room from Lefu and they knew that he had a lot of money because he had retired and he withdrew his money from the South African bank with the intention of depositing it in a Lesotho bank. Nothing but the minimum sentences as prescribed by law will fit the crimes they have committed, and they must be permanently removed from the society, “said Mpemvane.

Judge Gusha then sentenced the accused to life imprisonment for each of the two counts of murder, 15 years for each of the three counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, five years for theft, five years for illegal possession of ammunition and 12 months for contravention of the Immigration Act.

The NPA commends the good work done by Adv. Mpemvane and Warrant Officer Andre De Jager in ensuring justice for the families of the deceased.

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