KZN man gets life sentence for killing cousin for his RAF windfall
Blood is not always thicker than water, especially when it comes to money.
This was the case when Xolani Mchunu, 41, kidnapped and killed his cousin, Lerato Malembe, 35, after Malembe received “huge sums of money” from the Road Accident Fund (RAF).
Mchunu was sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment at the Pietermaritzburg high court in KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday.
Malembe sustained serious injuries in a road accident in 2013. His cousin assisted him in lodging a damages claim with the RAF.
According to KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Capt Nqobile Gwala, Malembe received “huge sums of money” and Mchunu started stealing from him.
Malembe became aware that his cousin was stealing and confronted him, which infuriated Mchunu and led to the murder plot.
On December 28, 2018, Malembe was sleeping at his home in Odlameni Section, Swayimani, when he heard a knock on the door from people claiming to be the police. The men then broke the door open, entered the dark room with flashlights and started assaulting Malembe. Mchunu dragged his cousin out and drove away with him.
The matter was reported to police and a case of kidnapping was opened at Wartburg police station. On the same day at 8.30am, a passer-by saw the body hanging from a tree and informed the police.
When Wartburg detectives arrested Mchunu, he had Malembe‘s bank cards and ID book.
KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Lt-Gen Khombinkosi Jula congratulated Wartburg detectives for their efforts in securing the sentence.
“It is sad when a family member turns on you and becomes your enemy. We pray and hope the sentence handed to the accused will help to comfort the family,” he said.