02/09/2008 16:54 - (SA)
Pietermaritzburg - A KwaZulu-Natal man who confessed to the killing of a Pietermaritzburg farmer admitted on Tuesday his gang was after firearms to use in other crimes.
Mthokozisi Jali, 34, pleaded guilty in the city's High Court to the murder, housebreaking and aggravated robbery of Andrew Main in September last year.
Judge Thumba Pillay said he would sentence Jali on Thursday as he wanted to consider carefully what punishment should be imposed.
Jali agreed with Pillay that his gang could have overpowered the 53-year-old Main instead of shooting him dead as he arrived home.
A former co-accused of Jali, Mxolisi Gcwabashe, pleaded guilty on August 26 to possession of the murder weapon, an AK-47 assault rifle, and was sentenced to seven years in jail.
Another accused, Mzamo Jali, 36, is to stand trial on charges of murdering and robbing Main and possession of the AK-47 on February 2 next year.
A fourth gang member, Lucky Ntombela, was shot dead when he tried to wrest a gun from a policeman in a bid to escape.
Jali confessed: "Mzamo and Lucky told me that Main had a safe which contained cash and weapons and that we should rob him.
"Lucky and I borrowed an AK-47 from Gcwabashe which Lucky kept until after the execution of our plan, and then I returned it to Mxolisi.
"On Sunday, September 23 2007, Lucky, Mzamo and I went to Main's home. Lucky had the AK-47. Main was not at home and we lay in wait for him.
"At about 23:00 he returned in his LDV. We waited for him to park and alight. As he got out Lucky shot him and he fell. He was dead.
Drove away in Main's vehicle
They broke into the house while Jali kept watch outside.
"Mzamo and Lucky came out with three firearms and ammunition. Lucky drove us away in Main's vehicle. We also took other items."
State advocate Prettygirl Ngcobo said Jali should be jailed for life. In 1996 he was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment for robbery.
Legal Aid Board counsel Divesh Mootheram said there were substantial and compelling circumstances for the court to deviate from the prescribed life sentence for the murder.
Jali had pleaded guilty and shown remorse by apologising to the bereaved family and Main's friends.
After the murder, 54 of Main's workers who grew and packed vegetables for supermarkets were laid off. The farm was sold.