The Bloemfontein High Court has sentenced five men to lengthy jail terms for the murder of a 27-year-old man in Thaba Nchu, said Free State police on Wednesday.
Police spokesperson Sergeant Martin Xuma said Mnyamezeli Majuba, 39; James Kwababa, 37; Maleho Mekoa, 37; Vuyani Tobi, 37; and Bokang Maselo, 18, murdered Skavo Monnapule in April 2017.
“It was on April 1, 2017, when seven males from Morolong in Thaba Nchu were enjoying themselves on a night outing. During the night the victim as well as Mnyamezeli Majuba went to his home to drop off some money then returned to a local tavern to further enjoy themselves,” said Xuma in a statement.
“In the early hours of the next morning after a night out, the group went to Majuba’s house and after a while, Majuba realised that the money they came to drop earlier was missing. He suspected that the money was stolen by Monnapule (victim) and they started to assault him. He instructed the others to handcuff him and they set the bedroom on fire with him inside and locked the house.”
Xuma said the victim managed to crawl to the kitchen and the neighbour who saw the fire alerted the police. After the fire had been extinguished, Monnapule was found dead in the kitchen. The post mortem results revealed that he died due to smoke inhalation and was also found with bullet wounds to the buttocks.
“A case of murder was registered and assigned to Detective Sergeant Phoyagae Tlhakung of Thaba Nchu Detective Unit. The six suspects were traced and arrested in Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape on April 3, 2017,” Xuma said, adding that during the investigation, one of the suspects turned state witness and the remaining five were charged with murder.
Eighteen-year-old Maselo pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to five years imprisonment in December last year.
The other four were sentenced on Friday last week. Majuba was sentenced to life imprisonment, Kwababa was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, Mekoa got 15 years imprisonment, and Tobi was sentenced to 20 years behind bars.
– African News Agency