A high court judge’s recommendation 16 years ago that two men who murdered an 82-year-old man and robbed his wife must serve 45 years behind bars before they can be considered for parole has been set aside.
Judges Cynthia Pretorius and Peter Mabuse ordered in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that the late Judge Johan Els’s recommendation that the two killers, Meshack Makgoba and William Mamabolo, may not be released on parole before they had served at least 45 years behind bars, must be removed from their records.
The judges made the ruling for both men even though only Makgoba appealed against his sentence. Makgoba was only 22 years old, a father of two children and a firsttime offender when he and Mamabolo were sentenced to life imprisonment for shooting to death an 82-year-old man and robbing his wife, aged 78 in October 2000.
The judges said the case had to be dealt with according to the law that was applicable at the time of sentencing and that Section 276B of the Criminal Procedure Act, which stipulates that a non-parole period recommended by a judge may not exceed 25 years, unless, under exceptional circumstances, and therefore did not apply.
They quoted several previous judgments stating that such a recommendation was undesirable.