A 43-year-old Zimbabwean man who in 2020 kidnapped, assaulted, robbed and attempted to kill a fellow countryman by removing his tongue using a pair of pliers in Musina over a ghost customs exports acquittals deal has been jailed for an effective 19 years by a Musina Regional Court.
Elvis Mukwayi was arrested on March 17, 2020 on allegations of kidnapping, attempted murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances that had occurred on February 18, 2020.
Although he pleaded not guilty to all the charges, the State proved beyond reasonable doubt that he and other accomplices still at large were behind the kidnapping of Brian Ngwenya from Phase 6, Matswale, Musina.
National Prosecution Authority (NPA) spokesperson for Limpopo Province, Ms Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi confirmed the sentence yesterday.
She said Mukwayi had 12 previous convictions which range from housebreaking and robbery and mostly theft.
“The court sentenced him as follow, on Count One – kidnapping, four years’ imprisonment, on Count 2 – attempted murder, 10 years in jail and on robbery under aggravating circumstances he was slapped with 15 years behind bars,” she said.
“The court ordered that the sentences in counts two and three run concurrently, leaving the man with an effective sentence of 19 years.”
She said Mukwayi and his accomplice had pounced on Ngwenya who had customs acquittal documents in his possession which were in relation to ghost exports.
Ms Malabi-Dzhangi said the accused, while in the company of his associates pounced on the complainant ordering him into a car but he resisted.
They then assaulted him and forced him into one of two vehicles that were utilized on the day.
“He was then driven to area in the bush close to Musina Airfield where he was then brutally assaulted,” said Ms Malabi-Dzhangi.
“The accused and his accomplices hit the man with a machete, stabbed him with a screwdriver on the head and the accused then tried to remove his tongue with a pair of pliers.
“During the ordeal, Ngwenya’s phone, passport and Zimbabwean ID document were robbed from him, and at some stage during this attack, he lost consciousness as a result of his injuries and only woke up when it was already dark.”
The official said Ngwenya who was left for dead after the attack crawled to the nearest road and was escorted to hospital by a good Samaritan.
She said Ngwenya could not speak for some time as a result of the injuries he sustained when the accused removed his tongue.
During the trial Ngwenya testified along with another witness who corroborated some of his circumstantial evidence.
“The accused elected to remain silent and called one witness in his defence who was not there on the day in question. He was subsequently convicted on all three charges,” said Ms Malabi-Dzhangi.
“In mitigation, the accused indicated his personal circumstances and that he is the breadwinner to his family who consist of two wives, five children and his elderly parents.
“However, the State argued that these are heinous crimes and were rather sadistic considering the way in which the Ngwenya was assaulted and tortured”.
She said the State had argued that there were no substantial and compelling reasons to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence and given his previous convictions an additional period should be added to prescribed minimum period.
The presiding magistrate considered all the relevant factors when imposing sentence and noted that it is strange how Mukwayi was still in South Africa, when he had a substantial amount of previous convictions.
The official said the NPA was also impressed by the hard work of Detective Sergeant Khodoka of Musina Detectives, who headed the investigations team.