The High Court of South Africa: Thohoyandou Division has sentenced nine Community Policing Forum [CPF] members of Tshivhilwi village to life imprisonment.

The accused were facing charges related to the killing and kidnapping of Vhonani Sibara, and Thanziela Mailanombe.

The group who handed themselves to the police are Avhakholwi Tshivhase (40), Joko Mudzanani(51), Kuvhanganani Abraham Mudau (45), Ntshengedzeni Patrick Muthegu (49), Nthambeleni Obert Lukhwareni (52), Maanda Nephalama(27), Mpho Sidney Musundwa(29), Azwianewi Mphathele(40).

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Two other accused, Livhuwani Shela Khohomela and Rudzani Patrick Mathaulula died before the trial.

During the interviews by police, the accused denied the commission of the offences and pleaded not guilty. Advocate Nnyambeni Nekhambele representing the state called the witnesses to prove the case.

The state witnesses testified that on 24 February 2014, the accused persons of Tshivhilwi village in Limpopo went out looking for the deceased (Vhonani Sibara). They found the deceased (Vhonani Sibara), tied him up and took him to a certain spot where they heavily assaulted him, for having been found in possession of a stolen mobile phone from one of the community members.

COMMUNITY POLICING FORUM MEMBERS SENTENCED TO LIFE

The group proceeded to look for the other victim (Thanziela Mailanombe) who was kidnapped and later released. All accused were present and participated by heavily assaulting the deceased with sjamboks, and horse pipes and kicking him.

Judge Khami Makhafola said that the evidence of the state witnesses was overwhelming and convicted all accused. During sentencing, the court said that throughout mitigation, the accused lied to the court. He also did not accept the responsibility and never showed remorse.

Judge Makhafola further said that he has considered various sentences. All accused were sentenced to life imprisonment for a count of murder. Eight years for kidnapping and six years for another count of kidnapping. The court ordered that the sentence of two counts of kidnapping would run concurrently with the life sentence.

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