Dumi Masilela's mother opens up on his death as murderers turn out to be her former students

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Late Rhythm City actor Dumi Masilela's mother has for the first time spoken out about her son's murder, telling the court how she fell into depression and lost her teaching job.

Sabatha Masilela took the stand in the high court in Pretoria where sentencing proceedings against her son's five murderers commenced yesterday.

Masilela, in aggravation for sentence, told of how her son and his 72-year-old aunt Grace Mahlangu both died on Aug. 3 in 2017.

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Today marks exactly four years since Dumi died in a botched hijacking in Tembisa on the East Rand.

She said Mahlangu died while sitting on the couch after she informed relatives that Dumi had died.

“When the paramedics arrived, they said she [Mahlangu] was in shock and pain and that her death was a result of a diabetic coma.

“Her diabetic levels were high. I lost my son and sister-in-law on the same day while I was still mourning the death of my husband,” said Masilela.

She said her husband died after a long battle with cancer, a year before her son was murdered.

“I don’t know who can take that pain. His death has affected me badly. I lost my teaching job because I was ineffective. Some of these boys here were in the same school [where] I taught, Eqinisweni High School [in Ivory Park in Midrand],” she said.

She said Dumi’s death had an adverse effect on his two siblings and that they were trying their best to take care of her.

“The other one has resorted to drugs and alcohol abuse because of how this matter has affected him. We cannot afford to get help for him. His wife has moved on and has a child with another man. I lost my job and I believe none of these things would have happened if he [Dumi] was still alive,” she said.

She said the last time she saw Dumi alive was after he had picked her up from the hospital where she had spent a few weeks after being diagnosed with depression.

She later receive a call from her daughter-in-law Simphiwe Ngema informing her that Dumi had been shot and was rushed to the hospital.

“On the night I received news of his shooting, he had just collected me from the hospital where I was because of depression. When he left home, he said he was taking a quick trip to Tembisa. I did not know that it would be the last time I heard his reassuring voice,” said Masilela.

Bongani John Masombuka, 34, Sfundo Harrison Nkosi, 33, Khumbudzo Solomon Mukhuba, 27, Brian Makhubedu, and Mashudu Malema, 31, were found guilty of Dumi's murder on Friday.

Earlier in the day, two of the five accused took to the stand to testify on why the court should be lenient when sentencing them.

Nkosi told the court that he was a fan of Dumi’s role in the soapie in which he starred in and that he was sorry to that he was murdered.

Dumi played the role of Sifiso in the soapie. The character’s exit storyline mirrored his death in which he died after being hijacked.

Nkosi added he knew Dumi from Tembisa because the deceased lived on the same street as his cousin and that they would come across each other.

Mukhuba, who was fingered as the triggerman, also took to the stand and denied shooting Dumi.

Asked whether he wanted to say anything to Dumi’s family after his conviction, Mukhuba bluntly said: “I did not kill their son.”

Judge Papi Mosopa asked Mukhuba if he was certain that he did not kill Dumi despite his co-accused saying he pulled the trigger.

“Yes, they are lying. I wasn’t even there when he (Dumi) was shot. I don’t even now some of my co-accused. I don’t know why they said I was there,” he said.

The matter was rolled over to today for closing arguments.

– Sowetan


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