Kruger Park engineer’s killers are found guilty

Capt Boy Elias Mukhari

MBOMBELA – The killers of a well-known Kruger National Park aircraft-maintenance engineer, Mr Teboho Ntabe, were found guilty of murder last week.
Thamsanqa Lungelo Shongwe, Mr Maxwell Mkaya, Mr Sakhile Moshaga, Mr Thabiso Malele, Mxolisi Khoza, Esseu Mdlovu, Ntokozo Matsebula and former police constable Phillip Mavimbela appeared in the circuit of the High Court on Wednesday.

The judge, Mr Brian Mashile, found Shongwe guilty of murder, robbery and defeating the ends of justice. Mdlovu and Matsebula were found guilty of murder and robbery. Khoza and Mavimbela were found guilty of defeating the ends of justice.  Mkaya, Moshaga and Malele were found innocent on all charges.

Teboho-Ntabe

Investigating officer, Capt Boy Elias Mukhari, stated that Ntabe had met friends at Cappello on November 1, 2014.

On his way home he parked on the side of the road and fell asleep in his vehicle. Shongwe, Mdlovu and Matsebula caught a lift home from Mbombela’s Club H2. At around 04:00 the bakkie they had been travelling in ran out of petrol and they spotted Ntabe asleep in his Ford Ranger.
They pulled him out of the vehicle, but he broke free. Ntabe tried to stop an oncoming vehicle for help but was fatally hit by a passing VW Polo. The trio covered his body with branches and leaves then proceeded to steal the car.

The driver of the Polo reported the accident to the police the following day, after which Ntabe’s body was discovered.

Two days later, on November 3, Shongwe frantically tried to sell the vehicle. He arranged to meet Khoza in Hazyview about the sale. He picked up Mkaya, Moshaga and Malele who only knew he wanted to sell the vehicle, but not that it had been stolen.

Upon their arrival in Hazyview, Khoza informed them that a buyer he had lined up had fallen through, but he knew of Mavimbela, who would purchase the vehicle.

Shongwe phoned the former policeman and arranged for him to send him money via a SPAR voucher for petrol to get to Tonga.

On their way to Mavimbela, Shongwe realised he was short of money for the toll gate. He phoned Mavimbela again, who in turn phoned a policeman at Kaapmuiden station and lied to him, saying his cousin needed money for the toll.  When the suspects stopped at the police station to collect the money, Khoza got out of the vehicle and went inside.

Officers and Mr Albert Gryvenstein were standing outside and saw the vehicle which had been reported stolen. A few questions about the bakkie’s ownership led to their arrest.

Upon seeing this, Khoza fled the scene. When he reached the toll gate, he phoned Mavimbela, who instructed him to stop a taxi. Mavimbela arranged with the driver that he would pay for Khoza’s trip, as he did not have any money.

Khoza met Mavimbela at a garage in Tonga. Mavimbela put him up for the night. The two were later arrested.

SANParks spokesman Mr Reynold “Rey” Thakhuli welcomed the verdict.  “We are happy justice has been done, even though this will not bring back to life our beloved colleague, a father to his children and a husband to his wife.”

Mashile’s term for presiding in the circuit of the High Court in Mbombela has ended, so he postponed the case for sentencing to the South Gauteng High Court on February 3.

  AUTHOR
Tereasa Dias
Journalist

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