SA jails Zimbabwean killer for 350 years

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Thu­peyo Mu­leya Beit­bridge Bureau

A ZIMBABWEAN who with his wife mas­ter­minded the mur­der, kid­nap­ping, rape, as­sault and ex­tor­tion of his fel­low coun­try­men in South Africa, has been sen­tenced to 350 years im­pris­on­ment in the neigh­bour­ing coun­try.

A Judge at the South Gaut­eng High Court con­victed Charles Ce­cil Brewer (36), alias Boss, of Nketa 7 in Bu­l­awayo on his own plea of guilty to 62 charges that included mur­der, rape, rob­bery, ex­tor­tion and as­sault.

The gang is sus­pected to be part of a larger syn­di­cate and is ac­cused of killing Olga Gwena (25) of Chi­tung­wiza and Es­ther Mwenda of Harare, among oth­ers.

Brewer is the al­leged leader of the gang which in­cludes his South African wife, Ma­dida Pe­ti­tion Sicelo (30) alias Sis­ter, Ja­heni “Satan” Luphahla (28) of Old Loben­gula in Bu­l­awayo and Phathu­muzi “KK” Sibanda (27) of Emakhan­deni in Bu­l­awayo.

Luphahla al­legedly earned the Satan moniker in the South African un­der­world for re­put­edly be­ing “wickeder than Lu­cifer him­self.”

Brewer will, how­ever, serve only 20 years in pri­son af­ter the court set aside 330 years in re­turn for him to iden­tify and tes­tify against more mem­bers of the syn­di­cate that are still at large.

The syn­di­cate al­legedly com­mit­ted the crimes be­tween May 30 and July 11 last year.

“The state has opted to make Brewer key state wit­ness against mem­bers of the syn­di­cate which has be­come a peren­nial headache for South African au­thor­i­ties.

“His three other ac­com­plices are still on trial af­ter they pleaded not guilty to all the charges,” said an of­fi­cial.

The case has been drag­ging on as the ac­cused have been strug­gling to get a lawyer af­ter dump­ing the state’s free le­gal prac­ti­tion­ers.

The gang is be­lieved to be part of a syn­di­cate tar­get­ing mostly women trav­el­ling be­tween Musina and Johannesburg in Gaut­eng Province.

They were picked up dur­ing a po­lice st­ing op­er­a­tion in Musina on July 25. Vic­tims have pos­i­tively iden­ti­fied the four. They iden­ti­fied Brewer and Ma­dida as the driv­ers of a white Opel reg­is­tra­tion num­bers SNB949GP and a red Hyundai Ma­trix reg­is­tra­tion num­bers ND462078.

The syn­di­cate op­er­ates from To­tal and En­gen fill­ing sta­tions and a house in Musina, tar­get­ing Zimbabwean hitch-hik­ers trav­el­ling to Gaut­eng province.

The State has sub­poe­naed more than 100 wit­nesses to tes­tify against the quar­tet.

It is said they used South African reg­is­tered pri­vate ve­hi­cles and touts to lure vic­tims into their cars.

Af­ter kid­nap­ping and de­tain­ing trav­ellers at var­i­ous houses in Johannesburg, the gang would turn vi­o­lent and strip their hostages of valu­ables. They would then call the vic­tims’ rel­a­tives and de­mand money for their re­lease. The amounts which ranged from R3 000 would be paid through money agen­cies that in­clude Sho­prite, PEP, Spar or Cam­bridge stores.

Zimbabwe’s con­sul gen­eral to South Africa, Mr Bati­raishe Mukonoweshuro com­mended SA au­thor­i­ties for mak­ing sure that jus­tice was up­held.

“We have faith in the jus­tice sys­tem and hope that in the re­main­ing three cases, jus­tice will surely pre­vail. It is our con­vic­tion that mem­bers of the syn­di­cate that are still on the run will soon be ar­rested and face jus­tice,” he said.

Mr Mukonoweshuro urged Zimbabwean trav­ellers to be well doc­u­mented at all times and to use reg­u­lated pub­lic trans­port in­stead of hitch-hik­ing.

Charles Ce­cil Brewer

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