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Man Sentenced To Life In Prison For Orchestrating Murder Of ‘Rich Aunt He Accused Of Witchcraft’

Siyabonga claimed that his aunt was practising witchcraft and bewitching family members. He enlisted the help of Thandolwethu Sibisi, who in turn recruited Sphelele Cele and Thobani Mkhize to carry out the murder.

A 37-year-old man, Siyabonga Shelembe, has been sentenced to life in prison by the Pietermaritzburg High Court for orchestrating the murder of his aunt, Tholakele Cynthia Shelembe.

Siyabonga claimed that his aunt was practising witchcraft and bewitching family members. He enlisted the help of Thandolwethu Sibisi, who in turn recruited Sphelele Cele and Thobani Mkhize to carry out the murder.

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On the day of the crime, Sibisi, Cele, and Mkhize went to Tholakele’s homestead armed with a knobkerrie provided by Siyabonga.

Mkhize strangled her to death while the others assaulted her. They then reported her death to Siyabonga and took both of her cars as payment. One vehicle was burned, and the other was sold, with the proceeds shared among the perpetrators.

Siyabonga was arrested the following day when someone spotted him with his aunt’s cars. The other three were apprehended later.

Confession statements and a statement from Tholakele’s daughter, who described her as a pillar of strength and a supporter of struggling family members, were used as evidence in the trial.

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Mkhize was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, while Sibisi and Cele received sentences of 25 years and 18 years, respectively. The court considered their youth at the time of the crime when determining their sentences. Additionally, all four men were charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances and received additional prison terms ranging from 10 to 15 years.

The court dismissed their application for leave to appeal.

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Parusha Naidoo for SurgeZirc SA
Parusha Naidoo for SurgeZirc SA
Parusha Naidoo is a skilled journalist who writes local and world news for SurgeZirc South Africa. With a passion for delivering accurate and reliable information, Parusha has become a trusted voice in the news industry. With years of experience in the field, Parusha has developed a keen eye for identifying important stories and presenting them in a clear and concise manner.
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