Cop murderer to spend 20 years behind bars

Zanele Mkhonto (30) was sentenced to 20 years direct imprisonment by for the murder of a police officer.

This is after Mkhonto pleaded guilty in the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court
for the murder of Sergeant Mandlenkosi Happy Thwala who was employed at the Kabokweni Police Station.

She previously told the court she was in a romantic relationship with the deceased and that they were residing together until July 2022 in Gedlembane, outside Mbombela.

However, she later moved back to her parental home. On August 2, Mkhonto visited the deceased in Gedlembane and an altercation between the two ensued. The deceased fell asleep and the accused took the deceased’s service pistol and fatally shot him several times while asleep in bed.

READ | Police officer kills wife and injures children

She then left the scene, taking the deceased’s firearm and vehicle. On her way to her homestead in Masoyi, she came across a road block in Zwelisha, near KaBokweni and threw away the deceased firearm which was found by the members of the public the following morning. Upon her arrival at home, she then informed her friend about the crime she committed and the police were alerted.

She was arrested and the state successfully opposed her release on bail .

Acting Judge Sheila Msibi, remarked that the killing of a police officer is a loss to the state and the society at large.She said, law enforcement officers are servants of the law.

She said she found that there were substantial and compelling circumstances justifying deviation from the ordained minimum sentence of life. She sentenced the accused to 20 years direct imprisonment, and was automatically declared unfit to possess a firearm in terms of Section 103 of the Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000.

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