18 June 2019

South Africa: Three Murder Accused Sentenced to Life

press release

Sterling investigation conducted by SAPS Chatsworth detectives has led to the successful conviction of three murder accused. After two years of intensive investigations the trial of Happiness Mkhize (35), Doctor Vitus Madida (40) and Sibongiseni Gumbi (31) was finalised in the Durban High Court on 14 June 2019. Madida and Gumbi were found guilty with each receiving a life term for murder and 15 years for robbery. The third accused Mkhize was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for murder and 15 years for robbery. The fourth accused was acquitted by court.

On 6 May 2017, the lifeless body of Hemrani Bijral (65) was discovered at her home in Biggersberg Street in Shallcross. The deceased was found strangled and her home was ransacked. A team of investigators worked around the clock on possible leads that could assist with investigation. Police made a breakthrough when the investigation revealed that the domestic worker, Happiness Mkhize had enlisted the help of Madida and Gumbi to murder the deceased. The deceased had appealed to Mkhize to assist her to sell her furniture as she had decided to sell her home and belongings with her dream of relocating to live with her children. This dream was short lived when the accused had gathered the night before to plan the murder.

Police made an appeal to the public via media to assist with investigations. A week later police arrested Mkhize and was placed before court. Madiba, Gumbi and the fourth accused had fled from their homes after being sought by police. In the months to follow police released identikits of the accused. The long arm of the law finally caught up with these perpetrators and the remaining three accused were arrested and placed under arrest. The accused made several court appearances until they were convicted and sentenced.

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