Fraud conviction still stands for ex-ANC leader

Former ward chairperson who faked his own death has his sentence reduced

Former ANC leader Zolani Xego, who faked his own death to claim some R3.6m in life insurance, failed in his bid to overturn his fraud conviction.
However, the Grahamstown high court reduced Xego’s effective prison sentence from 15 to eight years.
Xego and his ex-wife Vuyelwa Hlekiso were convicted on several counts of fraud after Xego faked his own death and Hlekiso tried to get insurance company, Discovery Life, to pay out R3.6m in life cover he had taken out shortly before his “death”.
Hlekiso was sentenced to correctional supervision.
The two were also convicted of faking the theft of a vehicle and claiming the insurance.
Hlekiso appealed only against her conviction while Xego appealed against both conviction and sentence.
But, Judge Thamie Beshe found that the only reasonable inference to be drawn from the evidence was that the then husband and wife team had acted together to fake Xego’s death and claim on his life policies as well as to defraud another insurance company in respect of the vehicle. She confirmed their fraud conviction.
However, she found there were grounds to interfere with the 15-year jail sentence in relation to Xego.
She said even though the crime was a serious one, his attempts to defraud Discovery Life Insurance had failed and the insurance company had only suffered “potential” prejudice. Xego and Hlekiso had ultimately not benefitted in any way. This served to reduce his sentence to eight years.
The Daily Dispatch first broke Xego’s story in 2009 when he was accused of buying driver’s licences for two councillors.
Further investigations by the newspaper at the time also uncovered that Xego was probed by the Department of Home Affairs, who had declared the politician dead in 2007.
At the time he was the ANC’s Ward 4 Nokhanime branch chairperson in Beacon Bay.
Xego has been out on bail pending the outcome of his appeal...

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