Restau­rant killer will serve a life sen­tence

Saturday Star - - NEWS -

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?”

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