Durban – Life sentences were handed down to four men who were found guilty of murdering an Inanda man at the Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court this week.
They pleaded to Magistrate Erenskia La Grange to show mercy when deciding a suitable sentence, but State prosecutor Kyshree Ramsamujh countered that they failed to show mercy when they stabbed the victim to death in his home.
Thulebona Zulu, 28, was in the company of his girlfriend and his friend, identified as Kwenza Mpanza, when brothers Kamva, 21 and Anami Tshutsha, 23, Messie Shangase and Zenzele Hlongwa, both 22, attacked him.
It emerged in court previously that the four accused, along with a fifth suspect who is still at large, gained entry to Zulu’s home and were armed with a gun and knives.
They demanded alcohol and cigarettes during the February 2018 attack.
Zulu resisted after he realised the intruders had a toy gun, but he was overpowered, stabbed multiple times, and died at the scene.
The Tshutsha brothers were each charged with housebreaking, murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances.
Ahead of sentencing, attorney Siyabonga Khumalo, who represented the accused, told the court that his clients, especially Kamva, Shangase and Hlongwa, were “youngsters” at the time the crime was committed.
Khumalo said although the three were over 18 in 2018, they were not mature enough at the time to make sound decisions, therefore, they should receive a lenient sentence.
He also reminded the court that all the accused had already spent time in custody awaiting trial.
Ramsamujh’s response was that Zulu was “killed brutally” in front of others in his home, who are still traumatised.
She said life sentences for each accused was just punishment as their offences were of a serious nature.
“After breaking into Zulu’s home, the accused went further and mercilessly stabbed him to death.
“Society has the right to be protected from people such as the accused who did not even spare a thought for the welfare, well-being and dignity of others. But resorted to illegal actions, in the still of the night, for their selfish gains,” she said.
Ramsamujh said Mpanza was also stabbed when he went to Zulu’s assistance and was lucky to have survived.
She raised that Shangase, who had been convicted of murder in 2009, had not learnt from his previous conviction.
In sentencing, La Grange pointed out that the person (Kwenza) who came to Zulu’s defence was also stabbed, to demonstrate that if anybody interfered, the same fate would befall them.
Given the substantial and compelling factors raised in the matter, La Grange said it was hard to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence and that life sentences were the only suitable punishment.
Zulu’s brothers Sifiso and Zamani Zulu said although the family welcomed the sentences, the Tshutsha family who lived in their neighbourhood, had shown no remorse after the murder.
Zamani said he was pleased the matter had finally ended.
“The sentence would act as a deterrent to others in the area who are involved in crime. Finally, justice has been served,” he said.