A woman and her lover in KwaZulu-Natal have been sentenced to life imprisonment for the planned murder of her stepson, driven by jealousy.
Lizzy Khethiwe Zondi, 52, and Wilmot Celimpilo Shabangu, 62, were convicted and sentenced in the Pietermaritzburg High Court for the murder of traditional leader Mzomuhle Zondi, 24, in November 2021.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) revealed that Khethiwe was previously married to Mzomuhle’s father, known as Chief Zondi. After the chief’s passing, Khethiwe was appointed as the regent for the Zondi tribe.
However, due to her improper behaviour, she was demoted following consultations with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta). Mzomuhle was then appointed as the new regent, which angered Khethiwe and Shabangu.
In their conspiracy to kill Zondi, the pair enlisted the assistance of a hitman known as “Mkhize.”
On the evening of November 10, 2021, they shot and killed Zondi in one of the buildings in the royal house. Following the murder, Khethiwe and Shabangu went into hiding. While they were arrested a month later in the Msinga area, “Mkhize” remains at large.
During her arrest, Khethiwe initially pleaded guilty to the murder but later retracted her statement, leading to a “trial-within-a-trial.” The NPA has welcomed the life sentence handed down to the perpetrators.