Dangerous brothers get a hefty sentence for the horrific murder of an elderly woman.

The two brothers, Nkosinathi Yika and Themba Yika aged between 28 and 38 got a hefty sentence for the murder of an older woman and attempted murder of the victim’s husband in 2017.

Sue Howarth (65) was horrifically murdered while the same culprits attempted to murder her husband who was 68 years old at the time. The horrific incident occurred on 18 February 2017 in Dullstroom near Belfast Mpumalanga.

During court proceedings, it was heard that on that fateful day a group of three men armed with firearms stormed into a certain house in Dullstroom where they held two pensioners, husband and wife hostage thereby robbing them of their personal belonging including their mobile phones.

Police said during the hostage ordeal, the female victim was shot by the suspects and sustained some injuries whilst they tied the husband as well as severely assaulted him with a torch. The suspects are said to have then demanded pin codes for the victims’ bank cards.

Both victims are said to have been dragged by their assailants into a bakkie, Nissan Hardbody belonging to the victims. The husband was then shot by the suspect as well before they were abandoned with their injuries next to the road.

The victims were later assisted by a concerned citizen who found them and rushed them to hospital where the wife unfortunately succumbed. Police at Dullstroom were notified by the paramedics about the incident whereby a murder and robbery case was opened. The team of investigators began their investigation where they gathered some information and worked tirelessly with the purpose of finding the perpetrators.

In a statement, police said on 25 February 2017 police succeeded in their investigation when the three suspects appeared in the Belfast Magistrate’s Court for a different case of stock theft. Police said they were shocked to find the three men in possession of a cell phone that was stolen during the robbery. The Suspects have immediately arrested the trio and charged with possession of the suspected stolen property.

In the tour of the investigation, police managed to trace the stolen bakkie as well as the camera in Middelburg, all these items were also forcefully taken during the said robbery. The three were later linked to the robbery of the pensioners where the wife was sadly murdered whilst the husband was lucky to be alive after being shot and sustained some serious injuries.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said during the course of the trial, one of the accused, Lucas Makua pleaded guilty to the charges and thereafter passed away in 2021 after confessing that the three indeed carried out the robbery and horrific murder as well as the attempted murder. The state built its case against the two remaining accused persons and the court took into consideration the guilty plea of the deceased man. The evidence was overwhelming hence the two men were convicted on 06 March 2022 and then sentenced by the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court which was sitting in Breyton on 30 June 2022.

  • For Housebreaking sentenced to 15 years imprisonment
  • For discharging a firearm in public they were sentenced to 5 years imprisonment
  • Sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for murder
  • Sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for attempted murder
  • Sentenced to 5 years for theft
  • Sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for kidnapping

For Housebreaking, both were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment each and for discharging a firearm in public they were sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. On the count of murder, both were sentenced to 20 years imprisonment meanwhile for attempted murder, the two were sentenced to 12 years imprisonment. The two were also sentenced to 5 years for theft. For the kidnapping of each victim, the two accused were sentenced to 5 years imprisonment per victim.

Meanwhile, police said Themba Yika an additional sentence with regard to the firearm was imposed upon him. He received 5 years for possession of an unlicensed firearm and 3 years for possession of unlicensed ammunition.

We welcome the sentence handed down by the court to the accused who unshamefully took advantage of the pensioners, robbing them of their belongings as well as murdering one and severely injuring the other. We hope that that sentence will deter others from committing crime

Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela