Two men have begun serving a life sentence after they pleaded guilty to the robbery and murder of a 49-year-old man.
25-year-old Funokwakhe Ncube and 24-year-old Sakhile Ncama were sentenced to an effective 25 years’ imprisonment in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
The pair admitted to robbing and stabbing Madoda Mndiyata to death in the Paddock area of Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal South in April.
They were sentenced to 15 years for robbery and 25 years for murder. The sentences will run concurrently.
Mndiyata worked on the Burntwood Farm in Paddock while the two convicted murderers lived in the vicinity of that farm.
In their plea, the two men stated they had met at a local tuck shop for drinks on the day of the murder. On their way home, the men decided to take a shortcut through the farm – where Mndiyata worked.
Mndiyata enquired about their identities when he came across them in the sugarcane field. After explaining, the pair alleged that Mndiyata attacked them with his knobkerrie.
Ncube then took out a knife from his bag and stabbed Mndiyata several times while Ncama assaulted him. Mndiyata eventually collapsed, but Ncube continued to stab him until he lost consciousness.
The pair then stole Mndiyata’s tracksuit pants, shoes and knobkerrie before fleeing the scene.
But a crucial piece of evidence linking them to the crime was left behind.
Ncube’s knife broke during the attack, and forensic workers recovered a piece of the murder weapon at the scene.
Ncube and Ncama were arrested after witnesses who saw them at the tuck shop realised the men had left the tuck-shop around the time Mndiyata was murdered.
They also reported seeing Ncube with the same knife at the tuck shop before the incident. Upon his arrest, police found the knife with the missing piece in Ncube’s possession.
In aggravation of sentence, Senior State Advocate Mbongeni Mthembu presented the court with a victim impact statement from Mndiyata’s mother.
She told the court that her son was their family’s breadwinner, and he brought happiness to their home.
She said since his death, their home was no longer a happy place, and the family was struggling to come to terms with his murder. She concluded that she would never wish her experience of losing a child on any other woman.
The National Prosecuting Authority has welcomed the successful prosecution.