The Pretoria High Court sentenced a taxi boss, Vusi Reginald Mathibela (37), known as Vusi Khekhe, Sipho Patrick Hudla (41), Matamela Robert Mutapa (47) and Bonginkosi Paul Khumalo (43), to 30 years direct imprisonment for premeditated murder of a businessman Wandile Bozwana. The four men were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for attempted murder, 6 years imprisonment for possession of a firearm and 2 years imprisonment for possession of ammunition. The court ordered that the sentence should run concurrently with that of 30 years.

On 02 October 2015, Hudla, Mutapa, and Khumala, followed the deceased who was at Sandton, Mandela Square in Johannesburg with his business associate Betty Mpho Baloyi, on instruction by Mathibela. When the deceased and Baloyi were leaving Sandton to drive back to Pretoria, they were using Baloyi’s car, and she was driving. The three men continued to follow them until they reached the Garsfontein off-ramp, and the traffic lights were red. The three men got out of the BMW car they were driving started shooting at Baloyi’s car and fled the scene. Both the deceased and Baloyi were shot, however, Baloyi managed to drive until she stopped at Garsfontein Road when police and emergency services arrived. Bozwana and Baloyi were taken to the nearest hospital, where he later died due to multiple gunshot wounds.

All four men were arrested on different dates, between 2015 and 2016, three of the four men have been in custody since their arrest, however, Mathibela was granted R50 000 bail in December 2016, after he handed himself over at the Brooklyn police station, in January 2016. He was then rearrested in 2019 after he violated his bail conditions, which were revoked and his bail money was forfeited to the state and has been in custody since. In court, all four men pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.

However, Adv. Jennifer Cronje was able to present evidence to prove the guilt of the four men beyond reasonable doubt and that all four men had a common purpose in killing the deceased and were convicted on 22 June 2022. During the sentencing proceedings, the four asked the court to deviate from imposing the prescribed minimum sentence of life imprisonment, because of the amount of time they have already spent awaiting the finalization of the trial since their arrest in 2015 and 2016. However, Adv. Cronje argued that time spent in detention was no one’s fault and that the court should take into consideration the personal circumstances of the family of the deceased because they lost a breadwinner. Furthermore, she asked the court to impose a sentence of life imprisonment. During the testimony of the brother of the deceased in aggravation of sentence, he told the court that not only did his family suffer because of the passing of his brother, but the community also suffered because the deceased provided employment for them.

When handing down the sentence the judge said, he found that there were substantial and compelling circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence because the four had spent a long time in custody since their arrest and were kept in solitary confinement since their conviction. Therefore, the sentence given was appropriate.

The Director of Public Prosecution, Adv. Mzinyathi welcomes the sentence and praises the outstanding work of the prosecutor and the investigating officer Sergeant Evans Butso Mongwe who started investigating the matter after the incident in 2015.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *