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2022/09/16      |  Written By:  Brigadier S Mohlala   |   Province:  Mpumalanga

Nelspruit: 14 September 2022- Collen Zwelakhe Lukhele (30) pleaded guilty on multiple charges and was sentenced to 125 years imprisonment by Mpumalanga High Court held in Middleburg yesterday, Tuesday 13 September 2022.

Lukhele and his two co-accused Tumi Joseph Vuma and Fickson Hine were arrested for two counts of murder, one count of kidnapping, three counts of robbery aggravating, three counts of possession of unlicensed firearms with one count for possession of unlicensed ammunition.

The court heard that Lukhele and his co-accused robbed a tavern owner of his licenced firearm in his residence in Wonderfontein on 25 June 2018 near Belfast.

The court also heard that between 03 and 04 August 2019, Lukhele and his co-accused were offered a lift by David Mthimunye (40) who was driving his Toyota bakkie in the accompany of Thomas Sibiya (28). Mthimunye and Sibiya are said to have been from the tavern when they met the accused persons. Their assailants are said to have kidnapped the two and instructed them to alight from their vehicle, robbed them of the car then shot them several times and after killing them, they concealed their bodies by dumping them in the nearby bushes before leaving with Mthimunye's bakkie.

After the matter was reported, the Police followed leads and recovered debris of the burnt out vehicle. The team of investigators intensified their probe and the suspects were arrested with firearms and ammunition recovered.

Lukhele pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to a total of 125 years imprisonment. However the court ruled that some of the counts to be served concurrently resulting to 40 years imprisonment whilst five of those wholly suspended, thus Lukhele is expected to serve 35 years behind bars.

His two accused did not plead guilty hence their trial still continues.

The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela has commended the hard work by all team members consisting of the investigators, the Prosecution, as well as the Judiciary who collaboratively made it possible that the accused receive the outstanding and well deserved sentence.