Not so holy man of God sentenced to life for murder of woman who stopped to help

Published May 30, 2024


Ngwako Selowa-Makhotoka, a businessman and a pastor of Jesus Christ Grace Ministries in Kuranta village Bolobedu area, Limpopo, has been slapped with a life imprisonment for the murder of Thabiso Lethube Masie.

NPA Limpopo spokesperson, Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi, said Selowa-Makhotoka, 31, appeared in the Polokwane High Court on charges of murder, illegal possession of firearm, possession of ammunition and attempt to defeat the administration of justice.

It is alleged that on August 07, 2021, Masie (who died) and her friend were driving back home from Shikiming village in Limpopo when they came across Selowa-Makhotoka and a friend, who appeared as a witness, pretending that their vehicle had broken down and that they needed assistance.

Malabi-Dzhangi said Selowa-Makhotoka and Masie, the deceased, were well-known to each other. She had stopped her car to find out if the pastor was having a problem with his car. That’s when he shot her five times.

After the shooting, Selowa-Makhotoka fled the scene. In an attempt to conceal his deeds, the he instructed his friend to mislead the police about the identity of the person who had shot Masie and to clean up her vehicle to eliminate possible fingerprints and gun residue using methylated spirit.

The friend of later turned into a section 204 State witness.

Malabi-Dzhangi said during the trial, the court heard that the pastor and his friend went to a tavern to buy some beers.

On their return to the pastor’s home, the pastor told his friend that he had a job to do and he was armed with a firearm.

On their way, he stopped his car, alighted and pretended that their car had a mechanical failure. This, while the pastor knew that Masie would soon be driving along the same road. Indeed, Masie and her friend emerged driving, not knowing that Selowa-Makhotoka was waiting for them.

Masie stopped her car to find out if he was encountering any challenges with his car so that she could help. She then got out of her car and Selowa-Makhotoka suddenly shot her several times. She was rushed to the hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.

Selowa-Makhotoka was on the run until two months later when he was arrested at a filling station near Polokwane.

Malabi-Dzhangi said in aggravation of sentence, State advocate Muneiwa Ratshibvumo argued that contract killing had become very prevalent in communities and harsh sentences were warranted.

She further argued that there were no substantial and compelling circumstances warranting a deviation from the prescribed minimum sentence in order to send a clear message to other would-be criminals.

Judge Maake Francis Kganyago, in sentencing the killer, said Masie was killed by a person whom she trusted.

The court further remarked that he was an “evil man” who hid behind a pulpit, a wolf who disguised himself in sheep skin. The murder of the Masie was carefully planned and executed. Selowa-Makhotoka did not show any remorse.

The court said that although the accused was 29 years of age during the commission of the offence, there was no evidence to show that his youthfulness played any role in the commission of the offence.

Therefore, the accused was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, five years’ direct imprisonment for illegal possession of firearm, two years’ direct imprisonment for possession of ammunition and one year direct imprisonment for attempting to defeat the administration of justice.

The sentences in counts two to four were ordered to run concurrently with the sentence in count one and the effective sentence, therefore, is life imprisonment.

Malabi-Dzhangi said the Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Ivy Thenga, welcomed the sentence and hoped that it would indeed send a clear message to the other criminals who preyed for the vulnerable. She congratulated advocate Ratshibvumo and investigating officer Eric Mathebula, of Mokwakwaila police station.

The Star