Life terms for four men found transporting body during lockdown
Four men found transporting a body by Johannesburg metro police officers have been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder.
Ntokozo Mtshali, Vusi Ndlovu, Zakhele Hlongwane and Melusi Malembe were sentenced in the Booysens magistrate's court on Monday after a three-year court case.
The case stems from an April 2020 incident during the Covid-19 lockdown, National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said.
“Three [metro] officers stopped a minibus in Oakdene in the early hours to ascertain reasons for driving at that time during lockdown.
The body of a man was found covered in a plastic.
The officers called paramedics who declared the man dead.
“The four accused could not explain the body in their minibus. In court they claimed there was a language barrier as they do not speak English.”
The men also claimed they were transporting the body to South Rand Hospital, but this was rejected by prosecutor Mukhethwa Seaba during cross-examination when they failed to answer why they were travelling in the opposite direction.
The men admitted assaulting the deceased because he had stolen a car battery from a taxi parked at George Goch Hostel.
They further admitted they tied the deceased to a tree while waiting for the owner of a taxi to arrive and alleged community members assaulted the man.
The court ruled that there were no substantial and compelling circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of life imprisonment.
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