- S v Mabitle 2017 (1) SACR 325 (NWM) and S v Monye and Another 2017 (1) SACR 329 (SCA)
In Ask Pollex in Servamus: August 2015, Pollex referred to a number of reported cases in respect of “contract killings”. The South African Criminal Law Reports (SACR) in its volume dated March 2017, contains another two unrelated “contract killing” cases.
In S v Mabitle, the accused, who was 20 years old when the crime was committed, pleaded guilty and was found guilty by a single judge of the High Court in Mahikeng in the North West Province (“the trial court”) on a charge of murder whereupon he was sentenced to life incarceration.
In his plea statement, Mabitle told the trial court that the wife of the late Mr Andrew Maphatchwane (the deceased) had contracted him to kill her husband. She promised to pay him R50 000 for the job. He accepted the task because he was in need of money after having lost all his belongings while travelling to Cape Town. His father could not help him as he had been retrenched and was unable to find other employment. His mother was employed as a cleaner and her wages were only enough to provide food. He killed the deceased by shooting at him four times. Three of the bullets struck the deceased. When he saw that the accused was still alive after the shooting, he took out a knife and cut the deceased’s throat. He ended his plea statement by saying: “I plead for mercy. It is poverty that made me kill the deceased. In fact I wanted money to go back to school.”