Paralysed hitman gets 20 years
Pietermaritzburg - A hitman who is now wheelchair-bound after he was shot several times, was on Thursday sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment by the KwaZulu-Natal High Court.
Siphamandla Shange, 24, confessed to killing Themba Mdluli, a schoolteacher in exchange for R10 000.
The man from Eshowe said he agreed to do it because he was jobless and in such dire financial straits that he was unable to support his children aged six and seven.
In his confession he said he received instruction from a school principal, MaDlamini Magwaza, to kill Mdluli after he accused her of being a witch.
Shange was to get other hitmen to assist him to murder Mdluli. One of his three co-hitmen, Mageba Zulu, shot Mdluli dead in June last year.
A few days later Zulu shot Shange five times, leaving him paralysed.
This led to Shange confessing to police in hospital, aiding their investigations. In his ruling, Judge Anton van Zyl said there was substantial and compelling circumstances which justified a sentence less than life in jail.
These include his remorse in confessing to the crime, that he was a first offender, he has agreed to testify against the others should that be arranged, and worked when he could find work to support his family.
Van Zyl said that the promise of a reward to kill was never justified.
He however said that Shange's position - desperately poor and without a family support to fall back on - made his moral blameworthiness less than a wealthy person who murders for greed.
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