POLOKWANE -The Polokwane High Court sentenced those responsible for the ritual killing of Ronny Makgatho in 2006, in the presence of the victim’s close family members last Tuesday.
Judge Gerrit Muller ordered that Joshua Hlako, Marcus Makgatho and Khumbelo Mabirimisa will each serve 22 years’ imprisonment for murder, seven years for kidnapping and four years for defeating the ends of justice.
Amanda Makgatho was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for kidnapping. Muller ordered that the sentences run concurrently.
At the time of the incident, Makgatho was murdered after he was kidnapped in Soshanguve and brought to Seshego.
Hlako is a business owner in the farming and liquor trading sectors and Marcus Makgatho, in hospitality. The deceased was the cousin of Amanda and Marcus.
During the trial, the court heard that one witness reported the matter only last year after having relinquished his employment ties with Hlako whom he worked for from 2001.
Asked about the cause of the delay, the witness said he feared that Hlako was connected to the police in Seshego and that he would face a similar fate as the deceased.
“The witness further told the court that when he approached the police to report the offence, his fear was confirmed as he was detained without any charges brought against him and the police accused him of reporting Hlako. He was then released and could not make further attempts to report as he feared the police. He was adamant that he was part of the team and he did it under the instructions of his boss,” National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi remarked. The second witness, who also worked for Hlako, confirmed the first witness’s testimony that on the day of the incident, they were with Hlako, Marcus, Mabirimisa and a woman unknown to them.
“Knives were brought into the shack in Seshego, and Hlako was giving the instructions. The second witness had to write the name of Ronny from Soshanguve in a notebook where they kept records of the deceased before killing him in the shack of Hlako’s homestead. The body of the deceased was dismembered, packed up and taken to various businesses to promote prosperity,” Malabi-Dzhangi added.
The accused all pleaded not guilty.