The community of Ncotshane in Pongola near Ngwavuma, in KwaZulu-Natal, is hopping mad over a 15-year prison sentence handed down to police detective, Mxolisi Donda.
Donda shot Sifiso Sithole, popularly known as Jobe of Pongola in Ncotshane, during a row over parking. Sithole was shot with two bullets and died on the scene.
The magistrate who presided over the case slammed Donda for not having shown remorse since the beginning of the trial.
Sithole’s family and the community are, nonetheless, unhappy about the sentence given to him.
The deceased’s relatives were overcome with grief after the sentence was handed down and were unable to elaborate on their feelings.
Community members on the other hand warned that the leniency shown towards Donda could lead them to take the law into their own hands.
Gebhu Ntuli from Ncotshane was with Sithole when he was murdered.
Ntuli says his friend was killed for nothing.
He has refuted claims that Donda and Sithole had engaged in a scuffle, which led the police officer to use his gun.
Ntuli says he doesn’t understand how some people convicted of lesser crimes than that of murder are sentenced to life in prison, while Donda gets away with a slap in the wrist. – Report by Maputaland Radio Newsreporter,Archurah Beula.
The two life sentences handed out to Lungile Nxelelwa for the rape and murder of his girlfriend in 2019 have been welcomed.
Nxelelwa raped, killed 27-year-old Keneilwe Pule in Sebokeng, Gauteng, desecrating her body with a grinder before torching her.
He was sentenced in the high court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
The judge presiding over the matter said Nxelelwa had stated his intention to kill Pule on numerous occasions.
Pule’s relatives were in court and they welcomed the sentence.
“Lungile is not right to live with other people. People like Lungile should be in jail,” the family says.
Pule’s aunt and family spokesperson, only identified as mmeManana, says the trial has reopened old wounds.
MmeManana says they still don’t exactly know how Nxelelwa killed Pule, among others.
“How did he kill Lungile..because there were kettle, ropes, grinders and knobkirries. We don’t whether he hacked her or he poisoned her and a lot of blood in the house,” she says.
“People like Lungile do not deserve to live with the people. Lungile is not right is person to live with the people. He is a giant. He can kill a person and rape him…rape him..so many things…how could Lungile rape a dead body…it’s not right.. it’s not right,” she says.
She says Nxelelwa’s mother is also scared of him. “Umama kaLungile naye I think..she is at peace,” she adds.
Rights group, #NotInMyName, has also welcomed Nxelelwa’s sentencing, describing it as long overdue.
“We believe South Africa needs more judgments like this in order to deter perpetrators and would-be perpetrators. We want sentences which deter the perpetrators of femicide, which is a scourge hounding our nation,” says the organisation’s general secretary, Themba Masango.
“We salute the courts, investigators and the justice system in this case for giving Keneilwe a voice, even in death. Our chant has been “Nxelelwa must rot in jail,” adds Masango.
The Gender Commission says Nxelelwa’s sentencing puts an end to one of the most traumatic cases of gender-based violence and femicide ever witnessed and heard of in the country.
“The Gender Commission believes this sentence will send a strong and unequivocal message that the judicial system is taking the fight against gender-based violence seriously,” the organisation adds.
Nxelelwa wasn’t happy with his sentence and lodged an appeal.
The judge, however, dismissed the application. – Report by Voice of Wits newsreader and reporter Lehlohonolo Malapane.
Unknown gunmen murdered the Vice-Chairperson of a sub-committee of the Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (MCEJO) in front of her grandson last month for allegedly refusing to sign an agreement with the mine for the legal bid to be dropped.
Days before her cold-blooded murder, Ntshangase had reportedly expressed her intention to write an affidavit, revealing that sub-committee members had spoken to her of a payment of R350 000 in return for her signature.
Tendele mine has denied involvement in the matter.
Environmental rights groups, including the Centre for Environmental Rights, are calling for the police to do more to bring those involved into book and protect other activists in the area.
Violence and Human Rights monitor Professor Mary de Haas says she is buffled about why no one has been arrested yet for MCEJO Coordinator Philani Ndimande’s assault.
Ndimande was assaulted during a meeting in which Ntshangase also attended, a week before the 65-year-old was killed.
Death threats were allegedly made during the fracas.
“There are a lot of clues about who did this; certainly about the threats, people with knowledge about it.”
She believes the Ndimande case could assist police to find those responsible for Ntshangase’s murder.
De Haas says the Ntshangase case has been transferred to the provincial police due to a lack of trust in the police in the area.
She says mines controls people through traditional leaders in rural mining communities.
A Tendele mine security man was apparently killed after Ntshangase’s murder and that case is also being investigated by the KwaZulu-Natal police.
Earlier this month, Ntshangase’s comrade – Ndimande told Local Voices that fear haunts the Somkhele community.
“When night time falls – we are all worried because we do not know when or who might come under attack.”
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has expressed concern over the murder, saying it considers it a threat to the creation and existence of a safe and enabling environment for defenders of social, land and environmental justice to freely exercise their rights.
The community’s anti-mining activists are concerned that the mine places the area’s environment in jeopardy. The noise and dust coming from the mine are other bones of contention.
Hearings into allegations of abuse against Rivers of Living Waters Ministries leader, Bishop Stephen Zondo, are underway in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Commission) is conducting the probe.
Wednesday is day two of the hearings. On Tuesday, five witnesses took to the stand.
Former member of the church Solly Poopedi accused Zondo of using umuthi (traditional medicine) to gain power over his believers. He says the muthi also helps him exploit them sexually and financially, among other things.
Poopedi alleges that Zondo is highly connected and works with high ranking politicians, like MECs and Ministers who also bow down to him.
Zondo’s niece, Meisie Raename, was the second witness. She says the Bishop raped her when she was less than ten years of age. Zondo is said to have been between 18 and 19 years old at the time of the crime.
Raename described the incident as traumatic, as Zondo would call her among other children to come wash her socks but she would know “here comes pain.”
Bishop Zondo’s sister, Khabo Zondo, has accused the Rivers of Living Waters leader of murder, saying he killed her father and two other people who knew about his shenanigans whom she could not reveal names.
Former youth member at the church, Bongi Mofokeng, is among other women who say they were raped by the Bishop. She says she was promised R75 000 after being sexually violated by Zondo at a hotel in Southgate, near Soweto.
“If you tell anyone about what happened here your marriage will end and your closest family member will die,” Mofokeng says Zondo told her.
Former secretary of the church, Sizakele Poopedi, was the last witness to assume the hot seat. She says Bishop Zondo uses offerings of the church to fund his lifestyle not the organisation.
“The minimum fee for consultation with the Bishop is R10 000, just to say.”
The hearings continue at the CRL Commission in Braamfontein and Bishop Zondo is expected to tell his side of the story between today and tomorrow, when the proceedings wrap. – Reporty by VOW FM News’ Buhle Mbele