Lengthy jail sentences for Joostenbergvlakte killers

State prosecutor John Reyneveld and detective Lieutenant Colonel Bambelela Ngxaki posed for pictures after wrapping up a criminal trial which began three years ago for crimes which took place in 2014.

The 15 Wallacedene men behind the Joostenbergvlakte massacre, where six men were mutilated and beaten to death, have collectively been sentenced to more than 1000 years in prison.

The bodies of Zola Gayiya, Lizo Barnes, Sandile “Fatty” Ngxabela, Sakhele “Nonkie” Ngxabela, Lulama Dunga and Mhlanganisi Mlanjeni were found on a Joostenbergvlakte farm in December 2014.

Fourteen of the 15 culprits were sentenced on Wednesday July 28. Thseopo Alfred Mathabela, Mncedisi Nditha, Ayanda Gwarubani, Montile Tyokwe, Ayanda Koni, Khaya Booi, Luvo Litha Maqolo, Khanyile Paul, Thandisiwe Manise, Lindani Cetywayo, Sibongile Paul, Lunga Zilwa, Sipho Zilwa and Fumanekela Paul abducted and bludgeoned to death six men they accused of robbing and killing security guard, Sabelo Dambisa, who had been gunned down by unknown killers earlier that year.

Their ringleader, Bangikhaya Koni, was sentenced four years ago to six life terms and 30 years for the murders and kidnappings. He is serving his sentence in Caledon prison. His 14 accomplices were convicted in the Western Cape High Court earlier this year (“Joostenbergvlakte 6 were ‘slaughtered’, says judge,” Northern News, April 16).

The killers are originally from Ngcobo in the Eastern Cape, and several of them fled there after the killings, but Kraaifontein police tracked them down.

Western Cape High Court Judge Chantel Fortuin sentenced Mathabela, 43, to five years for each count of kidnapping (six) and 25 years for six murder counts, which would run concurrently.

The judge said he had been instrumental in searching for the six men and holding them against their will.

Nditha, 44, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

He had unsuccessfully attempted to procure a firearm to be used in the crime and although no firearm had been used, he had “participated” in the plan to have the men killed, Judge Fortuin said.

Gwarubani, 28, Tyokwe, 44, Ayanda Koni, 25, Booi, 36, Maqolo, 31, Khanyile Paul, 41, Manise, 35, Cetywayo, 51, Sibongile Paul, 36, Lunga Zilwa, 34, Sipho Zilwa, 36, and Fumanekile Paul, 39, were sentenced to 20 years each for the murders and five years for each count of the six kidnappings, which will run concurrently.

Judge Fortuin was particularly scathing of Cetywayo, whom she said had been “influenced” and could have, as the most senior, coaxed the younger ones against partaking in the crime.

She noted that most of the men had only completed up to Grades 3 and 5 in school. The younger ones had reached Grades 7 and 9.

The convicted men had already been in prison for six years, bar for Maqolo, who had had the benefit of bail.

“None of you have shown any remorse,” the judge said, adding that they had also indicated they would appeal the convictions.

She said the men had been given a fair trial spanning three years, whereas they had dealt extra-judicially with their victims, none of whom had had a proven criminal past.

Speaking to the Northern News, Kraaifontein police station commander Brigadier Gerda van Niekerk said police had worked tirelessly to ensure that justice had prevailed.