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Killer widow 'got off lightly'

By Loyiso Sidimba | 2017-04-20 14:32:46.0

Prosecutors have lodged a fresh bid to increase a 20-year prison sentence handed to a Mpumalanga woman who hired a hitman to murder her husband for allegedly infecting her with HIV.

Portia Tsotetsi was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in February last year, for arranging the murder of her husband Nzimeni Sithatu.

She then got Sithatu's killer Dumisani Ngubeni murdered for blackmailing her.

Tsotetsi hired Ngubeni to assist with her husband's murder and to create the impression that he had committed suicide.

His body was found hanged in the bathroom of their home in Sakhile, near Standerton.

She wanted her husband dead after discovering that both of them were HIV positive and that he was secretly taking antiretrovirals.

Now North Gauteng director of public prosecutions Sibongile Mzinyathi has told the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) that no substantial and compelling circumstances warranted the imposition of a sentence less than the prescribed minimum of life imprisonment, which is 25 years.

Tsotetsi was sentenced to 20 years in jail for each of the two murders by North Gauteng High Court Judge Tati Makgoka. Sithatu and Ngubeni were murdered in February and May 2012 respectively.

The sentences run concurrently.

After killing Sithatu, Ngubeni started blackmailing Tsotetsi for money.

She then asked Ngubeni to come and fetch the money at her house, where Nhlanhla Dube and another man stabbed him to death and threw his body into a river.

Dube was sentenced to life imprisonment for Ngubeni's murder.

Concluding the prosecution's unsuccessful application for leave to appeal a year ago, Makgoka said substantial and compelling circumstances existed including that Tsotetsi had spent nearly five years in prison after her arrest and trial, was HIV-positive and, at 26 when she committed the crimes, was relatively young.

Mzinyathi had earlier told the court that there was an absence of remorse on Tsotetsi's part but Makgoka said she had apologised to Sithatu and Ngubeni's families.

The matter will be heard by the SCA next month.

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