The hitman responsible for the “October 11 Massacre” in Ladysmith, which left 15 dead in two separate shooting incidents, was found guilty for the ambush killings in the Ramsgate High Court on February 15, reports the Ladysmith Gazette.
Themba Raphael Mvelase, 30, known to many as ‘Kiniti’, was found guilty of 12 cases that included murder, attempted murder and malicious damage to property.
Mvelase was reported as being too sick to attend court during sentencing, resulting in his sentencing being postponed to February 23.
Mvelase killed the owner of a Mercedes-Benz, Thembekwayo Dlamini, who was accompanied by her family in October 2014. She was driving in a car similar to one owned by the hitman’s target and he mistakenly opened fire on it, riddling it with bullets.
The driver was killed and other occupants of the vehicle sustained injuries, including Eugene Hlumka, Thabo Hlomuka, Sizwe Thembekwayo and Hlengiwe Hlomuka. More than 30 rounds hit the car, and the deceased died on the spot.
A taxi travelling along the road when the gunmen opened fire lost control and collided with an oncoming truck, killing a further eight people, including a three-year-old child.
The accused admitted in court that the victim was mistakenly shot because the hitman thought they were taxi owners targeted to be killed. The hitmen were heard saying: “We shot at the wrong people,” before they fled the scene. It was reported at the time that he was heard saying “sorry”.
The same day, the hitman made his way to a car wash in Ezakheni D-Section, where he shot and killed five people: Sipho Mvelase, Osborne Mathebula, Sfundo Dlamini, Mlungisi Dlamini and Sakhile Dlamini. It has emerged that they were killed as a result of taxi violence between two families: the Mabaso and Gamede families.
This case had 39 witnesses. According to the evidence before the court, the murderer was seen by witnesses at both scenes. His fingerprints were found in the burnt car that he used to commit these crimes.
The Ladysmith Gazette further reported that KwaZulu-Natal MEC for transport, community safety & liaison Mxolisi Kaunda commended police and the Ramsgate High Court for the final conviction of Mvelase for the series of criminal events that ended with the death of 12 people in Ladysmith in the “October 11 Massacre” of 2014.
Kaunda said he had no doubt this meticulous work by both police and the Ramsgate High Court would send a clear and loud message that police, backed by willing community members, would always triumph against crime and criminals.
As the issue escalated into a faction fight involving mainly two Ladysmith families and their respective supporters, MEC Kaunda has held several meetings to resolve this conflict.
Commenting on this case, Kaunda thanked all involved, saying it demonstrated, in no uncertain terms, that this is not a lawless province.
“We warn criminals that law will always catch up with them. To police, we say bravo and keep up the good work,” said Kaunda.
– Caxton News Service