The investigating officers whose work secured life sentences for the murderers of Magistrate Victor Mabunda have been lauded by Gauteng’s police chief.
Mabunda was assassinated outside his Bronkhorstspruit home on January 10, 2018.
Thomo Ngoato, 29; Paulos Fourie, 35; and Thato Surprise Maringa, 40, were all found guilty of the murder of Mabunda.
The three were each handed a life sentence in the Pretoria High Court on Thursday, News24 previously reported.
Judge Bert Bam found Ngoato, who was a Cullinan Correctional Centre warden, sought help from his colleague and friend, Fourie, to kill Mabunda who was presiding over a case of dealing in dagga in which Ngoato was the accused.
Ngoato and Fourie also sought the help of Maringa, who was an inmate at the Cullinan prison, while they were working there.
Judge Bam found the men had followed Mabunda from the Cullinan Magistrate’s Court to his home in Bronkhorstspruit.
As Mabunda drove into his driveway, a gunman jumped out and fired several shots at the magistrate who was still in his vehicle. The gunman, only identified as “Solly”, was hired but has not been charged with murder due to insufficient evidence.
Following the shooting, Ngoato paid Fourie and Maringa for the successful hit.
Judge Bam said it was proven that Ngoato had suspected he would be found guilty by Mabunda and sentenced to prison, which is when he decided to kill him.
While Ngoato, Fourie and Maringa did not pull the trigger, Judge Bam found they had planned the murder and also acted in common purpose, making them accomplices in the execution of the crime.
Two of suspects were arrested within three weeks of the crime. The third was arrested a month after the murder.
Gauteng Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela has commended the thoroughness of the team of investigators.
“The investigating team ensured that none of the suspects were granted bail; while the case was ultimately escalated to the high court. In our concerted effort to reduce serious and violent crime, we in turn appreciate the delivery by our investigators, of watertight cases that ultimately ensure that perpetrators are handed long term sentences,” said Mawela.