Restaurant killer will serve a life sentence
A CONVICTED killer’s argument about being framed by a police officer because they shared the same surname and that their clans were involved in a fierce feud, backfired when he was sentenced to life behind bars yesterday.
The Johannesburg High Court handed down the maximum sentence to Njabulo Ngubane, who was part of an armed gang who robbed the Sakhumzi restaurant in January last year.
Kwesi Hudson, the manager at the popular Soweto eatery at the time, was shot dead during the robbery.
Although the police believed Ngubane was part of the group responsible for the deadly attack, the 24-year-old insisted throughout his court appearances that the investigating officer in the case, Captain Strike Ngubane, had a vendetta against him.
The officer told the Saturday Star following sentencing procedures that Ngubane maintained in court that because they shared a surname, the Ngubane family was divided into two opposing groups.
“He said the Ngubane family is fighting and that’s why I am framing him, because I belong to the other Ngubane grouping.
“This is the story he was trying to make up, but we don’t even know each other. We only share a surname.”
Despite Ngubane blaming the clan clash for the charges against him, Judge Ramarumo Monama was not convinced.
He handed down a life imprisonment sentence to the accused for Hudson’s murder, as well as 15 years behind bars for business robbery, another 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, 10 years for the possession of an unlicensed firearm and five years for the illegal possession of ammunition.
All the charges will run concurrently.
Judge Monama also found fault in Ngubane’s lack of remorse during the case and his behaviour in court, particularly during the sentencing procedures yesterday, when he argued with him and tried to leave the courtroom.
However, his sentencing went on when Judge Monama agreed for the proceedings to continue in Ngubane’s absence.
“The conduct of the accused continuously undermined democracy and if it’s not treated with the proper punishment, it will disrespect the rule of law and encourage vigilantism,” said Monama.
The judge added that Ngubane was a danger to society and considered his argument about being framed a “mere lie – remorse is an element of ubuntu and the accused has not taken responsibility for the actions he committed”.
These words as well as Ngubane’s life imprisonment sentence brought some closure to the slain restaurant manager’s wife, Xoli, who was in court yesterday.
The couple had three children together. “Even though nothing will bring my husband back, I’m happy with the sentencing,” she said.
Although it has been about 16 months since the retired teacher was gunned down, his wife is still struggling to come to terms with his death.
“It’s not easy and I still cry, my husband was everything to me but what else can I do?”