North West taxi ‘hitman’ sentenced to life imprisonment

South African Police Service

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North West taxi 'hitman' sentenced to life imprisonment
North West taxi 'hitman' sentenced to life imprisonment

Simphiwe Mcunukeli (52) was sentenced to life imprisonment by the South Gauteng High Court, seated in Klerksdorp on Friday, 18 January 2019 for murdering the chairperson of the Stilfontein taxi association. Mcunukeli was paid R50 000 to murder Nyamezeli Jeffrey Bambani (59), over an apparent dispute regarding the taxi route from Khuma to Potchefstroom.

On 03 August 2015, Mcunukeli entered Bambani’s home through the back door and proceeded to the living area where he shot and killed the victim before he fled the scene. The local police were alerted and they immediately referred the matter to the Priority Violent Crimes unit of the Hawks in North West for further investigation.

An initial enquiry by the team, linked the suspect to the killing through witness statements, which then led to a serious pursuit for Mcunukeli. The intensive investigations led the team to Eastern Cape in Cofimvaba where Mcunukeli was arrested in September 2016.

Mcunukeli subsequently made an appearance at the Klerksdorp Magistrate’s Court where he was released on R5000 bail. He then evaded trial and was traced and rearrested in May 2017. The accused remained in custody until he was recently sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and 9 years for illegal possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

The Provincial Head of the Hawks Major General Patrick Mbotho has lauded the investigative efforts of the team and warned that people who take the law into their own hands will feel the full might of the law.

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