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By Masoka Dube | Apr 22, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE woman who masterminded the killing of Govan Mbeki municipality deputy mayor Thandi Mtsweni was sentenced by the Secunda magistrate's court to 19 years in jail for other offences on Tuesday.

The municipality includes the towns of Ermelo, Secunda and Standerton.

Florence Lukhele, 39, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to murder and malicious damage to property.

It was revealed in court that Lukhele hired assassins to kill Bafana Sibanyoni, 38, who was a sub-contractor for her tender jobs, in which she built mostly RDP houses in the municipality.

The court heard that Lukhele failed to pay Sibanyoni, and when Sibanyoni demanded his money she conspired to have him killed.

Captain Leonard Hlathi said the assassins did not kill Sibanyoni but decided to inform him of the plot .

Hlathi said a case against Lukhele was then opened, and she was arrested.

"Lukhele was also found guilty of malicious damage to property after she set alight a dwelling belonging to 34-year-old Elias Msongweni.

"Msongweni's car was also burnt to ashes. It transpired that Lukhele had also failed to pay for the services he (Msongweni) had rendered as a sub-contractor," Hlathi said.

Lukhele was found guilty and sentenced to 13 years and six years imprisonment, respectively, for the two incidents. The sentences will run concurrently.

The incidents happened before Lukhele was involved in the killing of Mtsweni, a charge to which she pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in November last year.

The three men that she hired to assassinate Mtsweni are in custody and are to appear in the Middelburg circuit court on August 16.

Mtsweni was gunned down in front of her husband and teenage son in June 2007.

The court ordered that Lukhele be considered for parole after serving 18 years of the 20-year sentence, before the commencement of the 19-year imprisonment.


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