Sunday 2018-12-16




By Sandile Nkambule | 2018-03-13

Maponi Celani Ngubane who is serving a life sentence at the Matsapha Maximum prison is appealing against a 55- year sentence and says it is supposed to be 30 years in prison less remission.

However, the correctional services insists that their calculations indicate that Ngubane will be freed in 2037.

Ngubane has filed an appeal at the Supreme Court where he is seeking the court’s assistance in interpreting the judgment of the High Court handed down by Judge Thomas Masuku upon his conviction.

Ngubane who was convicted and sentenced for murder, armed robbery and theft amongst others, yesterday appeared before a full bench comprising Chief Justice Bheki Maphalala, Judges  Stanley Maphalala and Majahenkhaba Dlamini. Represented by lawyer Sipho Gumedze, Ngubane has also applied before the court that his life sentence and other sentences be correctly calculated and remitted by His Majesty’s Correctional Services and further seeks the court’s intervention to interpret Judge Masuku’s judgment.

Ngubane argues that according to the Prison’s Act, a life sentence is calculated to be 20 years instead on 25 years adding that the correctional services should also remit the number of years as per His Majesty the King’s pronouncement on amnesty.

According to Gumedze in his submissions, as far as the judgment is concerned, they are of the view that Ngubane should have been released as the judgement states that he was to serve the 20 years for first count for life sentence and the rest of the other counts were to run concurrently.

In total, Gumedze submitted that Ngubane should have served the 20 plus 10 being 30 years imprisonment less the remission instead of 55 years less remission. However, according to the calculations made by His Majesty’s Correctional Services, Ngubane is expected to be released by the year 2037.

Gumedze submitted that the remission of the appellant’s (Maponi) life sentence takes a third of the 20 years since there was amnesty by His Majesty during the Correctional Services, 40/40 double celebrations  and two of His Majesty’s birthday celebrations.

Principal Crown Counsel Lomvula Hlophe in her submissions stated that Judge Masuku’s judgment is clear that Ngubane is to serve a life sentence with the other counts on robbery, armed robbery served for the relevant years raging between five and 10 years running consecutively instead of concurrently.

Hlophe stated that the calculations by His Majesty’s Correctional Services state that Ngubane is expected to be released by the year 2037. Hlophe told the court that there is nowhere in the judgment where it states that the appellant is to serve the life sentence of 20 years and an additional 10 years for the other counts.

Following the submissions made by both counsels the chief justice ordered that Gumedze for the appellant submit the Prison’s Act and the Gazettes on the amnesty by the King and that the crown should come with the calculations of the sentences from the Correctional Service by  tomorrow and the matter was postponed till then.

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