Mitileni hopes for stiff sentence

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

The mother of a 15-month-old baby who was shot dead while strapped to her back in Johannesburg's city centre hopes God helps the judge make the right decision in the trial of the alleged killers.

Cynthia Mitileni spoke to Sowetan yesterday, a day before Judge Nigel Willis hands down judgment in the trial of three men charged with her daughter's murder.

Menzi Hlongwa, 20, Siphamandla Sigidi Gasela, 22, and Phikani Sibongiseni Ngidi, 24, are accused of murder, attempted murder, robbery and possessing illegal firearms and ammunition.

Khensani Mitileni died on the scene when a bullet struck her in the head while strapped to her mother's back in the October 2006 shooting.

Another victim, Sindisiwe Lindiwe Zuma, died five months later from gunshot wounds.

Nine other people were injured during the shootout between Coin guards and the robbers.

"Whatever decision the judge makes will be God's will," she said. "I have left everything in His hands."

She said if she had a say in the matter she would give the killers life sentences.

"It is a pity that we no longer have the death penalty," she said.

The 29-year-old mother said she was disappointed when she heard that one of the accused, Phana Makhanya, 28, was discharged because he could not be linked to the charges.

"If there was nothing against him, the judge could not do anything about it because his judgment is based on evidence put before him," Mitileni said.