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Brutal Nongoma killers sentenced to life

The pair were handed five life sentences for their heinous crimes - including the murder of a toddler

An uncle and his nephew were handed five life sentences by the Durban High Court on Thursday for their heinous crimes – including the murder of a toddler – committed between 2017 and 2021 in Nongoma.

In addition, Dennis Zwane (41) and Mfundo Zwane (30) were sentenced to 55 years in jail for murder, attempted murder, and arson.

The court heard of a May 2017 altercation between Dennis Zwane and a local traditional healer Bhekuyise Shiba (55) whom Dennis accused of ‘bewitching his dog’.

Under the guise of apologising, the two accused visited Shiba’s home where they shot him, several times, in full view of his family members before fleeing the scene.

Although the pair were arrested, the murder charge was provisionally withdrawn because of outstanding statements.

However, once the statements were secured, the pair were released on a warning, allowing them to return to Shiba’s homestead in October 2021.

Here, the pair doused the home with petrol and set it ablaze with 11 of Shiba’s family members trapped inside – among them six children aged 18 months to 12 years.

They also fired shots into the house.

The adults managed to get five children out of the house by pushing them through the window.

However, the mother of a physically challenged 18-month-old, who attempted to flee with the child, was beaten by the men and thrown back into the burning building.

Four people died, two were critically injured, and another four sustained injuries in the attack.

The survivors reported the crime to the police, who re-arrested and charged the Zwane men.

The court ruled that the sentences would run concurrently resulting in an effective sentence of life imprisonment each.

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