South Africa News

Mpumalanga men who killed their friend after drinking spree get life in jail

The High Court in Mpumalanga, sitting in Delmas, has sentenced Mlungisi Gideon Nkosi, 31, and Patrick Sam Zulu, 28, from Mhluzi, Middelburg to life imprisonment for the murder of Piet Mondli Thomo, 24.

National Prosecuting Authority Mpumalanga provincial spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said a third person who was jointly charged with Nkosi and Zulu, Vusimuzi Hendry Nkosi passed away before the trial begun.

On March 25, 2018, the NPA said, Thomo was on his way to work when he encountered the two men, who were travelling in a BMW. Thomo decided to join them and the group later became four friends travelling in the car.

“All four of them embarked on a drinking spree, visiting one shebeen after another,” Nyuswa said.

Eventually, they ended up at the Sasol filling station on the N11 near Doornkop where they bought meals at Maxi’s Restaurant.

“After finishing their meals, they drove in the direction of Middelburg, took the off-ramp near the weighbridge and went to Keeron Farm using a gravel road. Along the road, the vehicle stopped and they took Thomo out of the vehicle,” Nyuswa said.

They then stabbed him many times and drove over him.

“He succumbed to his injuries on the scene. The following morning, the deceased’s corpse was discovered by a passer-by,” Nyuswa said.

During the course of the court proceedings, both Mlungisi Gideon Nkosi and Zulu pleaded not guilty but alleged that they were forced to stab the deceased and drive over him by the late Vusimuzi Hendry Nkosi.

“The state led the evidence of a pointing out made by accused 1 (Vusimuzi Hendry Nkosi) to prove that his conduct during the commission of the offence did not include any compulsion as alleged by his co-accused. The post mortem report referred to trauma as being the cause of death was presented,” Nyuswa said.

“Both accused 2 and 3 (Mlungisi Gideon Nkosi and Zulu) were found guilty of murder but acquitted on a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances. During sentencing, the state argued that the gravity and callousness of the crime and the interests of the community far outweighed the personal circumstances of the accused.”

Nyuswa said the prosecution had submitted that Mlungisi Gideon Nkosi and Zulu’s personal circumstances either individually or cumulatively did not constitute a substantial and compelling factor allowing the court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence.

“Accordingly, the court sentenced both accused to life imprisonment. The matter was successfully prosecuted by Advocate Ashwin Poodhun,” Nyuswa said.


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