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By Chulumanco Mahamba

Digital Night Supervisor

Businessman pastor sentenced to life for killing acquaintance

Pastor Ngwako Selowa-Makhotoka was sentenced to life for murder, following a calculated plan to kill Thabiso Lethube Masie.

A Limpopo businessman and pastor, who shot a woman he knew five times and tried to conceal the crime, was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder.

Ngwako Elvis Selowa-Makhotoka, 31, a businessman and pastor of Jesus Christ Grace Ministries in Kuranta village, Bolobedu, was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, five years direct imprisonment for illegal possession of a firearm, two years direct imprisonment for possession of ammunition, and one year direct imprisonment for attempting to defeat the administration of justice by the Polokwane High Court on Thursday.

The sentences for counts two to four will run concurrently with the life imprisonment sentence.

Pastor pretended vehicle had broken down

Thabiso Lethube Masie and her friend were driving home from Shikiming village on 7 August 2021, when they came across Selowa-Makhotoka and his friend pretending that their vehicle had broken down and needed assistance.

“The accused and the deceased were well-known to each other. The deceased stopped her car and alighted to find out if the accused was not encountering any challenges with his car; that’s when the accused shot her five times,” National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi said.

After Masie was shot, the pastor fled the scene. Before he left, he told his friend to mislead the police about who shot Masie and to clean up her car to eliminate possible fingerprints and gun residue with methylated spirit.

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The friend later turned state witness.

During the trial, the court heard that Selowa-Makhotoka and his friend went to a tavern for beers, and on their way to the pastor’s house, he told his friend that he had a job to do and that he was armed with a firearm.

He knew the deceased would travel down the road 

Selowa-Makhotoka knew Masie would shortly be travelling down the same road, so he stopped his car, got out, and pretended they had a mechanical issue.

Indeed, Masie and her friend emerged driving, not knowing that the pastor was waiting for them, and she stopped her car to help Selowa-Makhotoka.

“She then alighted from her car, and suddenly the accused shot her several times. She was rushed to the hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries,” Malabi-Dzhangi said.

The pastor was on the run for two months until he was arrested at a filling station near Polokwane.

ALSO READ: Self-proclaimed pastor nabbed for vehicle fraud scheme

‘A wolf who disguised himself in sheep skin’

While sentencing Selowa-Makhotoka, Judge Maake Francis Kganyago said Masie was killed by a person she trusted.

“The court further remarked that the accused was an evil man who hides behind a pulpit, a wolf who disguised himself in sheep skin. The murder of the deceased was carefully planned and executed. The accused did not show any remorse,” Malabi-Dzhangi said.

Kganyago also said that although Selowa-Makhotoka was 29 when the crime happened, there was no evidence that his youth played a role in the commission of the crime.

The Director of Public Prosecution Advocate, Ivy Thenga, congratulated investigating officer Eric Mathebula of the Mokwakwaila police station and advocate Ratshibvumo on their conviction.

She said she hopes that the punishment will serve as a deterrent to other criminals who prey on the weak.

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