Durban — The Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court handed two men convicted of a double murder two life sentences each.
Magistrate E la Grange in her sentence said that she also considered aggravating factors in relation to the evidence presented to the court, which was that “they just started shooting execution-style”.
“More than 29 cartridges were on the scene, which is indicative of the fact that the accused did not want the deceased to survive,” she said.
Nkosinathi Hlongwane, 28, and Nkosinathi Njabulo Fikani Khumalo, 25, are to have their sentences run concurrently.
The duo is convicted for the February 2020 murder of brothers Joseph Sibonelo and Mjabuliseni Mpungose.
The State’s evidence in the matter was that on the day the two brothers were sitting under a tree with a third person in the morning, a group of people walked past and a remark was made complimenting the shoes of one of those in the group.
Later that day, Hlongwa and Khumalo walked toward the men seated next to a path, and instead of walking past, they (Hlongwa and Khumalo) repeatedly opened fire.
Hlongwane and Khumalo were arrested later on the same day, and have been in custody since having been denied bail. Hlongwane at the time of his arrest was found to be in the unlawful possession of a firearm.
La Grange said while she accepted the personal circumstances of the two accused presented by the defence, she found these not to be compelling or exceptional for the court to consider the minimum sentence.
She said the gravity of the evidence to the effect that the accused went over to the deceased, continuing to shoot while they were on the ground, outweighed the circumstances they had presented to the court.
“Neither of the accused are breadwinners or primary caregivers.”
She said that the accused had been in custody for two years and five months now, and the court considered this, however it was weighed against the aggravating circumstance that two people were killed.
“Accused one (Hlongwane) is not licensed to carry a firearm, but was found with a gun with the serial number scratched off … From the photo album, you can see that the deceased have multiple gun wounds.”
The defence for both men, T L Khambula, had asked the court to consider the minimum sentence as the accused were young and could still be rehabilitated.