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Friday, December 13, 2002

Brothers will spend their lives in prison

By Wendy Sa Joe

EAST LONDON -- Simnikiwe Ncamazana and Dumisani Ncamazana were sentenced here yesterday to imprisonment for life for the murder of local businessman Martin Whitaker.

Simnikiwe was also sentenced to 25 years for the murder of taxi operator Xolani Gongota and to two years' imprisonment for the theft of his gun.

High Court Judge Chris Jansen told Simnikiwe: "You have taken away an innocent man's life without any reason. Life is the most precious possession of any person."

Simnikiwe also received another 79 years to run concurrently with his life imprisonment while Dumisani received another 34.

Dumisani was found not guilty of the murder of Gongota, but was sentenced to a year's imprisonment for receiving Gongota's gun.

Jansen said it was always difficult to sentence a person and in particular to decide what sentence should be imposed.

He said Simnikiwe had previous convictions which were relevant to the present case, in particular a previous conviction for robbery. Dumisani had no relevant previous convictions.

Dumisani, a former Apla cadre, was granted a controversial presidential pardon in May this year for his attack on the Highgate Hotel, an attack on a bus of Da Gama Textiles employees, an attack at Nahoon Dam and the killing of three Baha'i Faith Mission members.

Simnikiwe was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for robbing security guard Sonwabo Tini. Dumisani was acquitted on this charge.

Both brothers were sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment for robbing Whitaker.

Simnikiwe was sentenced to another 15 years for housebreaking with intent to rob, and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Dumisani received one year's imprisonment for receiving a firearm from this housebreaking.

Both were sentenced to 15 years for illegal possession of firearms, one year for unlawful possession of ammunition, and one year for attempting to defeat the course of justice.

Jansen told the brothers that the crimes they committed were all serious, some more so than others. He said he had taken into account that legislation prescribed that any sentence imposed with life imprisonment should be served simultaneously with that sentence.

Jansen said that the community of South Africa, and in particular the Eastern Cape, had had more than enough of violence. "Our community expects the court to hand out severe sentences to criminals who go around robbing and killing innocent people," he said.

Jansen discharged two state witnesses, alleged accomplices in the murder of Whitaker and Gongota, from prosecution. The two have not been named for their own safety.

©Copyright 2002, Dispatch Media (Pty Ltd), (South Africa)

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