The High Court of South of Africa: Limpopo Division, sitting in Polokwane has sentenced Mmamoraba Jacob Mashiba (41) and Tubake Sister Maesela (44), for the murder of Mogokolodi Cleopass Digama (53).

The accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the charges. The state led evidence of witnesses who testified on how the incident of 17 June 2021 unfolded when Mogokolodi Cleopass Digama, a Warrant Officer in the South African Police Service(SAPS) attached to Apel police station, was shot and robbed of his service pistol and vehicle. The incident happened at his Somalian friend’s tuckshop. The evidence revealed that the deceased was shot and killed with an unknown pistol at Lerajane village, in Sekhukhune district and his vehicle was later recovered burnt.

The police investigations led them to the wife of the deceased and her lover who fathered one of her children. The court further heard that prior attempts of poisoning the deceased had been made by both accused.

In aggravation of sentence, Senior State Advocate Lerato Mohlaka argued that the court should not deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence for such heinous crimes. She further submitted that this murder was senseless, premeditated, and brutal. The accused persons are not remorseful for their actions. They even tried to cover their tracks by approaching a traditional healer for cleansing and had continued their lawless spree by bribing witnesses with an amount of R46 350 00 in order to conceal the death of the deceased. The accused did not take into consideration that the deceased had a right to life though he asked her “my love are you the one who is killing me?” Tubake continued to pull the trigger three times and shoot at his forehead. Advocate Mohlaka further submitted that there were no substantial and compelling circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence.

In sentencing, the acting judge Ephraim Makgoba sentenced both accused to life imprisonment for the count of murder, five years for unlawful possession firearm and three years imprisonment for unlawful possession of ammunition. The sentences were ordered to run concurrently, the effective sentences is life imprisonment.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Ivy Thenga congratulated the work of advocate Mohlaka and the following investigating officers: Warrant officer Aubrey Kekana, Lietenant Colonel Makutu Nkoane, Sergeant Jerita Choeke, former Colonel Pretty Ratshifula , Colonel Sekutlong Mapitsi- Masemola SAPS and Sergeant Koos Mogale of HAWKS in ensuring that these perpetrators are successfully prosecuted and receive harsh sentences.

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