“I did not kill Dumisani.” This was the message, loud and clear, from one of the suspected killers to the family of late Rhythm City actor Dumisani Masilela in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria yesterday.
Khumbuzo Solomon Mukhaba yesterday took the stand in mitigation of sentence.
This was exactly four years to the day when Masilela was shot dead during an attempted hijacking in Tembisa.
Judge Papi Mosopa earlier convicted Mukhaba, 27, Sfundo Harrison Nkosi 30, of Ivory Park, Bongani John Masombuka, 34, of Tembisa, Brian Makhubedu, 24, and Mashudu Malema, 31, all of Ivory Park, on an array of charges.
Although the court found that Mukhaba was the trigger man, the judge convicted his co-accused on the doctrine of common purpose.
The well-known actor was gunned down on August 2, 2017 and died in hospital shortly afterwards. His friend, Bongani Khumalo, was in the car with him at the time, and identified Mukhaba as the trigger man during an identity parade.
Mukhaba’s co-accused also pointed him out as the shooter.
But while being asked by his lawyer whether he had anything to say to the Masilela family, Mukhaba said he wanted to assure them that he was an innocent man who was falsely implicated.
This prompted the judge to question how he could deny his guilt, even though the evidence directly implicated him as the trigger man.
Mukhaba said he was an innocent victim who was “not even there when it happened”.
“I don’t even know my co accused. They all lied about me.”
Asked by the prosecution why everyone would lie and implicate him as the gunman if it was not him, Mukhaba said: “They were just elaborating on lies told by a source of the SAPS”.
But Mukhaba said as he was convicted, there was nothing he could do about it other than play along with the court.
“So, anything the court wants to hear, I will say just to satisfy the court,” he told the judge.
His evidence caused loud laughter from the public gallery, who had to be reprimanded by the court orderly to remain quiet.
His lawyer, as well as that of his co-accused, pleaded with the court for mercy in sentencing them.
They asked that the defendants not be “sacrificed on the altar of retribution”.
Nkosi’s lawyer told the court that his client was not happy with the fact that Masilela was killed.
In asking for mercy, he said: “My client was not the one who pulled the trigger. He asked Mukhaba ‘what did you do?’ He was not happy at all about the shooting.”
In his “confession”, which he disputed was made voluntarily, Nkosi earlier said that the plan was never to hijack or kill the actor as he was a well-known face in Tembisa.
According to the statement, which he claimed were all lies that he was forced by the SAPS to tell, Nkosi said they were on a hijacking spree around the time Masilela was killed.
He said Mukhaba acted on a whim of his own when he jumped out of their car and shot the actor during a botched hijacking.
Khumalo, during his testimony, said a person whom he later identified as Mukhaba, got out of a vehicle which had stopped behind them. He went to Masilela’s side of the vehicle, took out a firearm from his waist and then there was a loud bang.
Khumalo said Masilela drove on and they later switched places.
He then drove his friend to the Tembisa Hospital and later heard that he had died.
In convicting the five, Judge Mosopa said they engaged in an orgy of criminal activities, after they hijacked another car and tried to hijack Masilela.
Sentencing is expected later this week. – Pretoria News