AN Eastern Cape woman and her two accomplices were sentenced to life in prison by the Bhisho High Court on Wednesday, 24 November.

Phumlisa Deyi (35), with the help of Khanyisa Ncumani (33) and Siyabulela Nzelani (26), robbed and murdered Fundisela Swapi (62) of Mgababa in Peddie. Ncumani and Nzelani were hired by Deyi to kill her husband, Swapi.

According to NPA spokeswoman Anelisa Ngcakani, it was not clear what Deyi’s motive was for securing a hit on her husband.

“Swapi and Deyi were living with their two minor children in Mgababa. Deyi and Ncumani grew up together in Mpekweni. Deyi hired Ncumani to rob and murder Swapi, the Ncumisa recruited Nzelani,” she said.

“On 25 May 2020, Ncumani and Nzelani attacked Swapi at his house while he was watching TV with Deyi. They went straight to Swapi and started attacking him. Deyi was taken into another room and covered with a pillowcase while the two continued to attack Swapi. Then they fled the scene.”

Ngcakani said Deyi then ran outside, screaming for help. “Neighbours came to assist, but Swapi died in hospital due to blunt force. Ncumani and Nzelani were arrested on 3 June. During investigation, police seized Deyi’s cellphone and discovered that a few days before the crime, she had sent Facebook messages to Ncumani, asking him to remove her husband’s dangerous hunting dog from their marital home.”

Deyi and Ncumani agreed that he would collect the dog on 25 May – the day in which the robbery and murder took place.

It was established in court that the “dog they were referring to was, in fact, Swapi”.

“During judgment, Judge Igna Stretch described the murder as brutal and one that subjected the two minor boys to trauma,” said Ngcakani.

Stretch sentenced Deyi and Ncumani to life imprisonment, and Ncumani was further sentenced to 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances.

“Nzelani was sentenced to seven years for robbery after the court found that the crime was not premeditated as the robbery was done on the spur of the moment. However, it found that Deyi and Ncumani’s crimes were premeditated,” added Ngcakani.