Saturday, 27 November
A hitman who assassinated taxi owners in Limpopo has been sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of killing two others in 2018, although he claimed to have killed several more.
On Thursday, the Thohoyandou High Court sentenced Mzila Mchazeni Simakahle, 32, to two life terms for the two murders, five years for the unlawful possession of a firearm and a further two years for the possession of illegal ammunition.
The sentences will run concurrently with the life sentence.
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Simakahle was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to the four charges brought against him.
The court heard he shot and killed taxi owner Ndivhudza William Nethononda in front of his home in Thohoyandou Block F in July 2018.
On 8 August 2018, Simakahle and two unknown accomplices shot dead the second taxi owner, Nthambeleni Peter Tshishonga, from Maniini village at a car wash in Roodepoort, Gauteng.
He was arrested shortly after shooting a deputy taxi association member.
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“He was traced and arrested at Protea Glen on the same day. He was then linked to these offences,” National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi said.
In his plea explanation, Simakahle disclosed he was a hit man and was hired by taxi owners.
“He concluded by saying he has killed several people, and usually he would kill five per assignment. In these incidents, he was hired to kill both deceased because they were holding executive positions in the taxi association of the Venda to Johannesburg Association,” Malabi-Dzhangi said.
“He was promised that he will be paid and rewarded with a quantum taxi.”
During sentencing, Simakahle said he took full responsibility for his actions and was remorseful.
In mitigation, his defence team argued taxi owners lured him to commit offences because he was unemployed.
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In aggravation of sentence, prosecutor advocate Nduvheni Mulangaphuma led the evidence of the wives of the deceased, who testified they and their children were suffering because they have lost their husbands who were taking care of them.
They were unemployed and without income, the court heard.
“Advocate Mulangaphuma argued that these incidents have shocked the whole Vhembe district as we are used to hearing [of] such incidents in the media,” Malabi-Dzhangi said.
In handing down the sentence, Judge Khami Makhafola said Simakahle was a young man who made a living by killing people, adding he purely killed to enrich himself.
“Judge Makhafola further agreed with the State that he is not a rehabilitation candidate, therefore Mzila is sentenced to two life imprisonment [terms] for two counts of murder, five years for unlawful possession of a firearm and two years of ammunition,” Malabi-Dzhangi.
Simakahle was also sentenced to life for similar offences which were committed in Gauteng.
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11 Nov 2019
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