Byline: Kelebogile Masemola

04 April 2022

The High Court of South Africa in the Mpumalanga Division has convicted 28-year-old Siphesihle Jeremia Mashabane and 27-year-old Kgomotso Cecil Khoza to life imprisonment for the murder of 26-year-old Xolani Govern Sithole who was an attorney working for Legal Aid South Africa.

This was after the pair were convicted for robbery, aggravating circumstances, theft, and premeditated murder.

On 16 December 2015, the duo went to the deceased house in Barberton, they were in the position of a hammer which they used to attack the deceased.

They took keys from the deceased, unlocked his house, searched him and took his cellphone and wallet, then fled the scene.

The deceased succumbed to his injuries and died late.

The two were arrested the next day, Khoza told the deceased’s family that his co-offender was the one who murdered Sithole.

They pleaded not guilty and testified implicating one another in the court of law.

Senior state Advocate, Derrick Mashego led evidence of the deceased’s mother, who discovered his son.

She testified that her son was a breadwinner and paid school fees for his siblings who have now dropped out of school.

The accused’s friend also testified, he told the court that both Mashabane and Khoza went with him to withdraw the deceased’s money at the bank, with which they bought liquor.

Judge Thando Mankge, said families will never get out of economic prison if a person like the deceased, who was a breadwinner was killed before he can improve the lives of his family.

She found no substantial and compelling circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence.

She sentenced each accused to 15 years imprisonment, for robbery with aggravating circumstances, three years for theft, and life imprisonment each for premeditated murder.

The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently, and the effective sentence is life imprisonment.