In a shocking turn of events, Masonwabe Dlulani (30) has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for the contract murder of his wife, Baliswa Magxagxa (27). The trial took place at the Mqanduli Regional Court, where Dlulani initially pleaded not guilty but later changed his plea to guilty.
The prosecution presented two witnesses who implicated Dlulani in the murder. He confessed that he had wanted to take a second wife, but his wife objected to the idea. In a sinister plot, he decided to have her killed instead.
The incident occurred at their home in Maqomeni Location in the district of Mqanduli. An intruder, pretending to be in need of help, shot and killed Baliswa Magxagxa in front of their five-year-old daughter. The evidence presented in court revealed that Dlulani, a mineworker in Northam, Limpopo, had met a hitman there.
They agreed on a payment of R30,000 for the murder, and the hitman, who also hailed from the Eastern Cape, carried out the act while Dlulani remained in Limpopo.
The arrest of Dlulani came as a result of police investigations. He had called his family members immediately after his wife’s murder, asking them to check on her as he wanted to deposit money for her.
During questioning by the police, he made some admissions that implicated the alleged hitman, Gcobani Msebenzini. However, when the trial began, Dlulani pleaded not guilty and attempted to distance himself from his previous statements.
The trial saw the testimony of Dlulani’s relatives, whom he had called on the morning following the murder. As their evidence became overwhelming, Dlulani decided to change his tune and pleaded guilty. The alleged hitman, Gcobani Msebenzini, is still maintaining his plea of not guilty and is scheduled to appear in court on 01 November 2023 for the continuation of his trial.
Considering the presentence report, which indicated Dlulani’s remorse, first offender status, and low level of education, Regional Court Magistrate Noluvo Mhlana found compelling circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of life for premeditated murder.
The Eastern Cape Director of Public Prosecutions, Barry Madolo, accepted the sentence and commended the prosecutor and investigating officer for their meticulous collection and presentation of evidence.