Accused Themba Ndawonde, of Msinga, KwaZulu-Natal, pleaded guilty to forcing fresh produce trader Lindani Mvelase to stop his van at gunpoint on the Greytown-Dundee road in July last year.
Ndawonde said that he and Mvelase wrestled and his pistol fired, the bullet killing Mvelase.
This happened while Ndawonde and two other gang members searched and robbed Mvelase and his mother of R4800.
Prosecutor Candy Kander told the court that Mvelase, aged 31, had supported his parents, three children, and indigent people in his home village of Pomeroy.
He was travelling home after buying fresh produce to sell at his home. The R4800 stolen by the gang were the proceeds of his trading.
Kander said Mvelase’s father had tried to take over the business but failed.
Poyo-Dlwati said that while the sentence should deter him and others from such crimes Ndawonde was young, had pleaded guilty and had rehabilitation potential.
She imposed 15-year’s jail for the aggravated robbery to run concurrently with the 20-year term.
One of Ndawonde’s gang members Sandile Sokhela was sentenced to 18 years for the murder and 15 years for the robbery in another trial.
Ndawonde has undertaken to testify for the State should there be another trial.