The late Collins Chabane mayor, Moses Maluleke. Photo from archives.

'When will the masterminds be arrested?'


Five people convicted of murdering Moses Maluleke, the former mayor of the Collins Chabane Municipality, were sentenced to life imprisonment last week. Maluleke’s family, however, believes the masterminds behind the murder are still at large.

Shumani Nemadodzi (48), Avhatakali Isaac Mudau (39), Wiseman Baloyi (37), Tshianeo Munyai (32), and Pfunzo Lidzebe (33) were found guilty of charges including conspiracy to commit murder, murder, attempted murder, and possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition last Thursday, 11 April, in the Polokwane High Court.

Maluleke was fatally shot at his Xikundu home on 21 July 2022, in what was initially believed to be a robbery. His 18-year-old son, Ntokoto, was also shot and seriously injured during the incident.

The accused maintained their innocence throughout the trial, but Deputy Judge President Matsaro Violet Semenya found them guilty. She sentenced each of them to life imprisonment for murder, 10 years for attempted murder, 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, and five years each for unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition. The sentences will run concurrently.

The court accepted the evidence of a key witness used by the State under Section 204 of Act 51 of 1977, which allows for indemnity for such a witness. The court found that the witness had testified truthfully, implicating himself as well as the other accused in the offences. The court ruled that the State had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt and that the accused had acted with a common purpose and had planned the offences.

Family spokesperson Mr. Aitken Maluleke, who is also the deceased’s brother, welcomed the sentence but said they still needed closure. “We are happy that the court imposed the maximum penalty, but I am not satisfied with the way the investigations proceeded. We were given false hopes that more arrests were imminent after the initial six accused were arrested. There is a driver and a man identified only as Bafana who were mentioned, but the trial ended without their arrests. We still believe there is more to this case,” he said.

Maluleke further indicated that the incident did not seem like a straightforward robbery and that there were ulterior motives. “If they were there to rob, they would have taken the money he offered them or the cars, as he gave them the keys. He pleaded with them to spare his life, but they killed him. People are being protected in this case, and they are the masterminds who remain free and enjoy life. As a family, we are not happy. We do not feel safe knowing there are killers out there. We will never have closure until all are arrested,” Maluleke said.

During sentencing, senior State Advocate Eric Mabapa had called Rhangeleni Mambre Maluleke, the mayor’s widow. She said that due to the incident, their home’s doors and gates were always locked out of fear for their lives. Describing the deceased as a generous person who had assisted anyone in need in the community, she detailed her struggles in managing the household and mentioned her son Ntokoto, who remains affected by a bullet lodged under his kidney.


News - Date: 19 April 2024

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Elmon Tshikhudo

Elmon Tshikhudo started off as a photographer. He developed an interest in writing and started submitting articles to local as well as national publications. He became part of the Limpopo Mirror family in 2005 and was a permanent part of the news team until 2019.