update


Justice for slain pastor

Justice has finally been served for the late Pastor Zulu.

Three years of pain ended in closure for a widow and her family when three men who brutally murdered her pastor husband were given lengthy jail sentences.
Magistrate Nkosi passed sentence in the Dundee Regional Court on Friday on Themba Vusimuzi Mbhele (32) – also known as Maputo, Nala Dlamini (27) and Aphiwe Mtwane (20). All gave their addresses as Sithembile, Glencoe, but Mtwane apparently hails from the South Coast where he lived on the streets.

Charges were dropped against two other men who were also originally arrested.
All three were convicted for the murder on March 17, 2015, of Pastor Hamilton Zulu. Posing as hitch-hikers, the Salvation Army Pastor from Ladysmith, who also sold perfume in the area, stopped to give the accused a lift outside Dundee. The Pastor also stopped to pick up another hiker, Jabulani Kheswa. Mr Kheswa was attacked by the men, stabbed, thrown out of Pastor Zulu’s vehicle and left for dead on the Nquthu road.

Pastor Zulu- gone but not forgotten

On March 24, 2015, Pastor Zulu’s badly decomposed body was found near Uelzen School on the Sunset Rest road. His car had earlier been recovered in the Hattingspruit area. An intensive police investigation ensued, led by Detective Warrant Officers Maharaj and Mngomezulu of the Glencoe Detective Branch.
DNA evidence was used to identify Pastor Zulu’s body and the link was made between his murder, the attack on Mr Kheswa and the theft of Pastor Zulu’s vehicle.
Following months of court appearances the men were finally sentenced: Accused number one, Mbhele was jailed for an effective 25 years after he was sentenced to 20 years for murder and 15 years for robbery of the vehicle, perfume and other possessions and 15 years for the attack on Mr Kheswa. Some of the sentences will run concurrently. Mbhele also had four other previous convictions.

Dlamini was jailed for 13 years on the charge of murder, 12 years for theft and 12 years for the attack on Mr Kheswa. Mtwane, who was only 17 at the time of the murder, was given 10 years for murder and 10 years for robbery. All were declared unfit to be in possession of a firearm.
Mbhele and Mtwane showed no remorse during mitigation of sentencing, claiming they could not be sorry for something that happened of which they had no knowledge of.

  Pastor’s murder: Court tension boil 

Dlamini did ask for forgiveness from widow Bongiwe Zulu and Mr Kheswa and apologised for causing them pain. Major Piet Simenyo, a pastor with the Salvation Army, also gave evidence and spoke on behalf of the family, saying they had never got back the money or the cell phone stolen from Pastor Zulu. “The family has suffered severely and they will never see a husband or a father again. We accept Mbhele’s apology but the other two have shown no remorse.” He also thanked the police for their swift response and investigation.

No bail for pastors murder accused 
Prosecutor Mathenjwa bombarded the accused with questions, asking them why they should receive a lenient sentence. All claimed they wanted to further their education and that their families would suffer should they be jailed for a lengthy period.
Mbhele and Mtwane were represented by Legal Aid attorney Gumede and Dlamini by Mr Sivnarian. During a recess, Attorney Gumede attempted to prevent the press from taking notes in Court and demanded that permission be sought from the Magistrate. This was dismissed by the Press as the Court is open to the public and the Constitution declares, except in exceptional circumstances, justice must be seen to be done.

  AUTHOR
Fathima Zubane
Journalist

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