By: Otto Ngoveni
LIMPOPO – Convicted murderer and kidnapper, the former Malamulele traffic officer Masingita Chabani, will have to wait a little longer to know her fate.
The Limpopo High Court sitting in Thohoyandou last Thursday further postponed her sentencing to 11 January next year.
In a packed-to-capacity court, Judge Violet Semenya postponed the case for clinical assessment and sentencing. Chabani (47), a former Malamulele traffic officer, was convicted of murder, robbery, two counts of kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice a fortnight ago.
The trial started a few weeks ago and more than 20 witnesses, including Chabani and co-accused Steven Sithole, testified. Sithole pleaded guilty earlier in the case and turned state witness. In a separate trial, he was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment for the same case.
In a judgement that took about five hours to deliver, Judge Francis Kganyago said the state managed to prove its case beyond any reasonable doubt and that Chabani’s evidence left much to be desired.
He said given the circumstances, he was finding Chabani guilty of the murder of Hlulani Maswanganyi, who was 17 at the time of her death. He also found her guilty of the kidnapping of Hlulani Maswanganyi and her son, Trinity Mbavala.
Reacting after the postponement, family member Mr Wilson Mahlawule said the family was relieved that the wheels of justice were moving at long last. “We have suffered enough, but we are happy that even though the body of our loved one has not been found, the murderer has been found guilty.”
Chabani’s trial and subsequent conviction emanate from an incident that happened in 2015. Mbavala was later found alive and reunited with the family.