An Eastern Cape woman who hired a hitman to kill her husband, and then convinced another woman she met in a taxi to hire the same hitman for a similar purpose, has been sentenced to life in prison.
Nomqondiso Thembu, 53, and hitman Siphiwe Wili, 46, were both handed life sentences by the Mdantsane Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
News24 previously reported that Thembu was seeking to kill her husband when she met Wili. She offered him R120 000, and then introduced Wili to her husband under the guise that he was her cousin.
The victim, Arthur Thembu, and Wili became good friends until he killed him on their way home from a soccer match on 24 February 2017.
Arthur Thembu’s body was found near the Sisa Dukashe stadium in Mdantsane, the Hawks said.
The motive for the murder was money, it was found. Thembu wanted her husband’s life insurance and pension.
Wili was paid R60 000 of the R120 000 in March 2017 after the funeral policies paid out.
A couple of months later, while travelling in a taxi, Thembu met Busiswa Nabi and the two became friends.
Nabi shared her marital problems with Thembu, who then encouraged her to have her husband killed. Thembu told Nabi that she would also benefit from her husband’s life insurance and pension.
Nabi then contacted Wili with the intention of hiring him to kill her husband. But during the planning of the murder, the two fell in love.
“The Serious Organised Crime Investigation members were alerted to the plot and the suspects were arrested in November 2017, before the murder could take place,” Hawks spokesperson Lwando Zenzile said in a statement.
Wili was sentenced to an additional 13 years for conspiracy to commit murder.
News24 reported that in March 2019, Nabi was given a suspended sentence and agreed to turn state witness.
Hawks head Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya applauded the investigation’s team for working around the clock to ensure that the suspects were ultimately convicted and sentenced.
“It is disheartening for spouses to kill each other for the purpose of cashing insurance policies. The organizers go to the extend [sic] of pretending to be mourning their loved ones,” Lebeya said.
“I commend the investigators for leaving no stone unturned in uncovering the plan that also saved a life and many others that were to follow. The work of the team including the prosecutors is commendable. The sentence will serve a warning to those who think crime pays.”
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