The Pretoria High Court sitting in Palm Ridge has sentenced, seven men, Tumelo Masemane (34), Sifiso Mthimkhulu (33), Prince Tsiu (30) a Lesotho national, Pontsho Mathoto (34) Motloheloa Masemane (48), Motsamai Sydney Masemane (30) and David Moeketsi Motlanyana (36), for the murder of a 21-year-old man. Of the seven men, Tumelo, Mthimkhulu, Mathoto, and Motloheloa were each sentenced to 20 years for murder and kidnapping. While Matsamai and Motlanyana were sentenced to 5 years of direct imprisonment each for kidnapping and Tsiu was given 12 months for assault which is illegal in the country. The judge ordered that the sentences should run concurrently and that Tsiu be deported to his country of origin after serving his sentence.

The seven committed these offences after Motloheloa, suspected that the deceased had broken into his house and stolen his items twice in February 2021. On 08 March 2021, Motsamai and David kidnapped the deceased while walking with his friends on the street in Evaton and took him to a small farm together with Motloheloa, where Tumelo lived. They kept him in one of the back rooms where they continuously assaulted him until he died. Days later they threw the decomposed body into an unused pit toilet.

The seven were arrested after neighbours felt a strange smell coming from the toilet and called the police. Upon investigations, Tsiu gave a statement and implicated the rest. In court they all pleaded not guilty to the charges, Matsamai and David asked the court to give them a suspended sentence, however, the rest of the men asked the court to consider the fact that they had spent two years and three months in custody while awaiting completion of the trial.

However, the Prosecutor Advocate Micheal Shivuri told the court that the seven men were authors of their misfortune, they did not have respect for human life. They killed and threw the body of the deceased in a pit toilet. Therefore, he asked the court to impose a sentence that fits the seriousness of the crime. The sentiments were also echoed by the mother of the deceased who took a stand to tell the court how the death of her son affected her. In her testimony she told the court that she takes pills for her to fall asleep at night, therefore she too asked the court to impose an appropriate sentence.

In a sentence, Acting Judge Phahla Mohlaka agreed with the state that the seven showed no remorse for their actions, therefore he found no compelling and substation evidence to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence.

The DPP Advocate Sibongile Mzinyathi welcomes the sentence and thanked the prosecutor and the investigating officer, Sgt Solly Bheki Mkhonza for the conviction and sentence.

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