Johannesburg- A 35-year-old Eastern Cape woman, Phumlisa Deyi, has been sentenced to life imprisonment by the Bhisho High Court for the murder of her husband Albert Fundisela Swapi.
Swapi and Deyi were married and resided at Mgababa Village in Peddie with their two minor children when he was murdered in May last year in what later appeared to be a staged robbery that Deyi conspired with one of her two accomplices Khanyisa Ncumani and Siyabulela Nzelani.
They were at their home with children on the evening of May 25 last year when Ncumani and Nzelani arrived in their home from an area called Mpekweni at Peddie and executed the planned murder and robbery after they had consumed mandrax and dagga.
Nzelani grabbed Deyi and forced her to the bedroom while Ncumani attacked Swapi with a heavy blunt object on his head repeatedly.
They then fled the scene with Deyi’s mobile phone and cash amount of money that they had collected from the couple’s vases.
Deyi screamed for help and neighbours rushed to their house and tried to assist.
Swapi later died in hospital due to wounds caused by the blunt object.
Ncumani and Nzelani were arrested in June last year at Nzelani’s place of residence with Deyi’s cellphone that they ran away with during the staged robbery.
Deyi was arrested following the arrest of her accomplices.
It emerged during the trial that Deyi and Ncumani were old acquaintances who grew up together in the same area at Mpekweni and communicated with each other regularly on social media.
Deyi hired Ncumani to murder her husband in a manner that would create an impression of a robbery gone wrong.
Ncumani then roped in Nzelani who also resided in the same area at Mpekweni.
It also emerged that Deyi communicated with Ncumani through Facebook when she sent him a message, asking him to find a buyer for her husband’s dangerous hunting dog; she wanted to be removed from their marital home.
They agreed during the Facebook conversation that Ncumani would be collecting the dog on 25 May 2020, coincidentally on the same day the staged robbery on Swapi and his murder took place.
It was also established in court that the “dog” that they were referring to was in fact a figurative word for Swapi.
Evidence presented and accepted in court reveals that Deyi carefully and cunningly conspired with Ncumani to plan her husband’s murder down to the finest detail although the state could not establish the motive.
During the judgment, Judge Igna Stretch described the murder as brutal and one that subjected the two minor boys to life trauma.
Judge Stretch agreed with the prosecutor, Advocate Deolin Willemse, that if a crime like this matter is viewed by society as an abhorrence, then the sentence should reflect that.
She found both Deyi and Ncumani to have committed premeditated murder and sentenced them to a life sentence.
Judge Stretch further sentenced the 33-year-old Ncumani to 15 years imprisonment for robbery with aggravating circumstances.
His accomplice Nzelani (26) has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment for the robbery.
The court found that his crime was not premeditated as his two accomplices and the robbery he committed was done on the spur of the moment.
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