By Kaya 959 Reporter
Three hitmen have been sentenced for the murder of an Eastern Cape ANC official in 2018.
Thembisile Sixakaza (32), Mnoneleli Mpusu (44), and Mawande Dlephu (30) received life imprisonment for the murder of Thanduxolo Nobhongoza.
Nobhongoza was a Sakhisizwe Local Municipality politician and a Community Services Manager.
He was the Chief-Whip of the African National Congress in the municipality comprising the districts of Cala and Khowa.
According to NPA spokesperson Luxolo Tyali, Nobhongoza was gunned down near his home in Cala Extension One, on 29 November 2018.
Former Chief Traffic Officer at the municipality, Loyiso Nyembe, was also arrested. He was the alleged mastermind. Nyembe later passed away due to health complications.
“Nyembe had been accused of fraud and corruption in a different case relating to the illegal sale of drivers’ licences. That case put him on a collision course with Nobhongoza, and he decided to kill him,” says Tyali.
Nyembe allegedly organised the three hitmen from his hometown of Qumbu.
Middleman granted immunity
The court heard how the men carried out Nyembe’s plot.
“On the day of the commission of the crime, the men drove to Khowa to meet with Nyembe, before proceeding to Cala where they found the deceased walking towards his home and fatally shot him in full view of community members,” Tyali says.
Nyembe and Sixakaza were granted bail after appealing to the High Court. While out on bail, Sixakaza was arrested for another robbery with aggravating circumstances in Dutywa, a day before his appearance in court on 30 August this year.
During the trial, all three men pleaded not guilty. They only admitted to having been in Cala on that day to fetch a car from Nyembe.
“Among witnesses, led by Senior State Advocate Ndoyisile Lamla, is the middleman who pointed out Nobhongoza to the hitman. He was granted immunity in accordance with Section 204 of the Criminal Procedure Act,” the NPA states.
The court also convicted the trio on charges of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. They were sentenced to seven years but the court ordered that it run concurrently with the life sentence.