Three men convicted of murder relating to the torching of a bus that was transporting Modikwa Platinum Mine workers in 2018, killing six of them, have each been sentenced to life imprisonment.
The Limpopo High Court in Polokwane sentenced Sipho Khumalo, 29, Philemon Makwana, 34, and Thabo Mokgala, 28, to life imprisonment on six counts of murder, 10 years on 47 counts of attempted murder and five years on the count of malicious damage to property respectively.
This follows an incident that occurred on the night of April 2 2018 when four men and two women were burnt beyond recognition after the fiery attack on the Segweka bus service at Driekop village outside Burgersfort while collecting Modikwa Platinum mineworkers.
NPA Limpopo spokesperson Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi said the four accused had a meeting at which they had agreed to burn the bus which transports Modikwa mineworkers.
“They proceeded to the bus station and joined the mineworkers, staying behind the occupants. Later the four got into the bus and Sipho poured petrol while Philemon set the bus alight. They then jumped out, leaving behind the bus engulfed in flames,” she said.
Malabi-Dzhangi said in the beginning of the trial on September 30 2019, one of the accused, 30-year-old Kgaugelo Moime, pleaded guilty to all counts and further implicated the accused.
“He was sentenced to25 years’ imprisonment for each count of murder and 10 years for each count of attempted murder,” she said.
The National Prosecuting Authority has welcomed the sentences.
She said the state advocate, George Sekhukhune, led the evidence of Moime, police officers whom Moime confessed to and some of the bus occupants.
“Sekhukhune asked the court to impose the prescribed minimum sentence as the accused showed no remorse and they carefully planned the crime and executed it. He further mentioned that the accused killed six people in a horrific and gruesome manner by burning them,” she said.
Malabi-Dzhangi said the court ordered that 47 counts of attempted murder and the count of malicious damage to property run concurrently with the life-imprisonment sentences for the six counts of murder.