Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

A woman and her lover in KwaZulu-Natal have been handed life sentences for orchestrating the murder of her stepson out of jealousy. Lizzy Khethiwe Zondi, 52, and her accomplice, Wilmot Celimpilo Shabangu, 62, received convictions and life sentences in the Pietermaritzburg High Court for the killing of traditional leader Mzomuhle Zondi, 24, in November 2021.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) revealed that Khethiwe was previously married to Mzomuhle’s father, Chief Zondi, and became the regent for the Zondi tribe following the chief’s death. Due to her inappropriate conduct, she was demoted after consultations with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. Mzomuhle was appointed as the new regent, provoking anger from Khethiwe and Shabangu.

Allegedly, the duo conspired to murder Zondi, seeking the help of a hired hitman known as ‘Mkhize.’ On the evening of November 10, 2021, they carried out the plan, shooting and killing Zondi in one of the buildings at the royal house. After the crime, they went into hiding, with Khethiwe and Shabangu eventually arrested a month later in the Msinga area. ‘Mkhize’ remains at large.

Khethiwe initially pleaded guilty to her stepson’s murder upon her arrest but later retracted her statement, leading to a ‘trial-within-a-trial.’ The NPA welcomed the life sentences handed down by the court.

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