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Two get 20 years for stoning Qethuka's car

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MANZINI - Two men have been sentenced to a total of 20 years for stoning a vehicle that was being driven by Royal praise singer Qethuka Dlamini.

Wandile Simelane (28) and Vukani Dlamini (23) both from Sigombeni appeared before Magistrate Sebenzile Ndlela on Friday for sentencing. Simelane was facing two counts while Dlamini was facing three.

On the first count, both accused persons were charged with malicious damage to property in that on February 7, 2013, at Sigombeni they intentionally damaged a Mitsubishi Citron LDV with registration numbers CC 612 GP by stoning it, causing damages worth E44 316. 76. It is stated that they did this with intent to injure the King’s praise singer.

On the second count, both accused persons were charged with malicious damage to property after they stoned a Nissan MP300 registered PSD 225 BM causing damages worth E6 179. 40. They did this with intent to injure Mlungisi Shongwe who was in the car.

On count three, Simelane was facing a common assault charge in that he assaulted Masiko Dlamini by hitting him with stones on the left knee and head, thus causing pain and discomfort. The incident also happened on February 7, 2013 at Sigombeni.

Simelane was found guilty and sentenced to 11 years imprisonment while Dlamini was sentenced to nine years.

During their previous appearance in court, Qethuka Dlamini, who is a soldier told the Magistrates Court that one of the men who stoned his car confessed that he detested him for working closely with the King.

It could not be ascertained whether the man was jealous.

Qethuka also told the court that he was in the company of one Vela Dlamini when they found two men standing in the middle of the road, one carrying a tin of marula brew.

"We requested them to move over as we wanted to drive through and also asked them why they were standing in the middle of the road. However, they refused to move. I realised that I knew one of the suspects who was shouting, saying I had an attitude problem and thought I knew everything as I worked closely with the King," Qe-thuka said.

The praise singer further said he was carrying a small knobkerrie when the incident occurred, which he used to hit a plank next to one of the suspects to try and scare him away. He said the men continued to shout and hailed insults at him saying he was ‘foolish’.

"They started hurling stones at us and ordered me to draw my gun and shoot them as I thought I was better," Qethuka said.

He said they tried ducking the stones, but some hit them on the hands and body and the rest went to the vehicle he was driving.

Qethuka revealed that Dlamini had also accused him of assaulting him with an open hand in a previous incident.

He further said the vehicle had to be taken to South Africa, where it was repaired. Qethuka said the body, rear left windows and mirrors were also damaged.

When asked by the Crown if there was bad blood between him and the boys, Qethuka said besides what the suspect had said on the day of the incident, there was no hatred between him and the men.

Both suspects had pleaded not guilty to the charges. They maintained in court that they did not stone the vehicles in question. "Did you see me, in particular, stoning your car or you are just assuming it was me. There were many people throwing stones there. Are you making me to suffer because you know me?" one of the suspects asked.

The praise singer maintained that he saw both men stoning his vehicle. "What you are saying is not true-‘usenga lemitsi impela (you are lying)," Qethuka said.

Mlungisi Shongwe, an employee of the Swaziland Electricity Company also led evidence and told the court that he had found the men stoning Qethuka’s vehicle.

The men who were in the company of Qethuka, Masiko and Veli also led evidence and narrated to the court how the incident occurred. However, the suspects did not have any questions for both witnesses.

The court found them guilty as charged and for count one, they were sentenced to five years in prison without an option of a fine while for count two they were sentenced to four years in prison without and option of a fine.

Simelane was also sentenced to two more years without an option of a fine for his third count.

Sentences were to run consecutively, which means Simelane would spend 11 years in prison while Dlamini will spend nine years.


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