/ 30 August 2023

Man linked to police killing in Cape Town gets life in jail

Nametso Malema
Luyanda Fuzile was sentenced for the shooting of Sergeant Nametso Ignatius Molema (above) in 2021.(SAPS)

Luyanda Fuzile, 37, one of the accused in a robbery that led to the death of on-duty officer Sergeant Nametso Ignatius Molema in Cape Town in November 2021, was this week sentenced to 25 years imprisonment — effectively life in jail — after accepting criminal liability. 

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) welcomed the sentence, which was handed down just over a week after Police Minister Bheki Cele announced an increase in police killings. 

From April to June this year, 31 police officers were killed while on duty, according to the South African Police Service’s first quarter crime statistics for the 2023-24 financial year. 

“It cannot be normal,” Cele remarked during the announcement of the statistics on 18 August, adding that the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the HawksI) continued to arrest “those who choose to undermine the state by targeting police for their criminal gains”.

He said nine people were given life imprisonment sentences, totalling 158 years in jail.

During Fuzile’s sentencing in court on Monday, state prosecutor Aradhana Heeramun, said “the phenomenon of attacks on law enforcement officials is egregious and has become particularly prevalent in the Western Cape and the country”. 

Fuzile entered a plea and sentencing agreement with the state where he confessed his participation in the robbery but said he had not fired the shot that killed Molema. 

But he was found guilty through common purpose of which the consequence included the fatal shooting of a police officer, Heeramun explained.

“The robbery and murder were planned and premeditated. The murder is a foreseeable consequence of the accused’s actions,” he said. “The legislature has ordained … that a prescribed minimum sentence of life imprisonment may be imposed unless the court should find substantial and compelling circumstances justifying from the prescribed minimum sentence.”

Fuzile and four co-accused were charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping, murder, attempted murder, illegal possession of a firearm and illegal possession of ammunition. Fuzile’s sentence amounted 67 years but will run concurrently with the 25-year murder conviction.  

The five killed Molema and wounded another officer, Malibongwe Mnani, during a robbery at GR Spices in Killarney Gardens in Table View.