Local woman opens 11 funeral policies on husband’s name, before hiring hitmen

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A KwaZulu-Natal woman will now spend many years in a tiny jail cell, after employing two hitmen to dispose of her estranged husband.

KZN Regional Spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Natasha Kara, explained the heartless act involving the 56-year-old Penelope Phumelele Zulu began in 2016, when she and her husband, Nkosinathi Sipho Zulu, separated.

“At some point, the pair stopped living together and Zulu decided to kill her husband. She enlisted the assistance of Khanyisani Biyela, promising to pay R80 000 in return,” Kara began. Then in April 2016, Biyela recruited Mandlenkosi Shezi to help him with the murder.

Following this, Kara said, the two men killed Zulu in Utrecht, a stone’s throw away from Newcastle. “On the day of the incident, they (Biyela and Shezi) fetched Nkosinathi from a petrol station, drove him to an isolated area, and shot him.”

Biyela and Shezi then fled the scene. However, the two were arrested after police viewed video footage from the petrol station, showing Nkosinathi getting into Shezi’s motor vehicle.

It was at this stage that the legal proceedings against Biyela, Shezi and Zulu began. 

Biyela was convicted in March 2021 and sentenced to 25 years imprisonment. However, Shezi died in 2021 while out on bail.

According to Kara, Zulu was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of her estranged husband on Wednesday, 1 June 2022, by the Pietermaritzburg High Court (sitting in Madadeni).

“In court, Senior State Advocate Nkonzwenhle Mlotshwa led the testimony of Nkosinathi’s girlfriend, who implicated Zulu; as well as bank records showing that Zulu had paid Shezi R50 000 as part payment for killing her husband,” explained Kara.

This is not forgetting that Mlotshwa also told the court that Zulu had taken more than 11 funeral policies for Nkosinathi, electing herself as the beneficiary. “In aggravation of sentencing, Mlotshwa led the testimonies of Nkosinathi’s aunt and uncle. They described him as an exemplary person who took care of his family members,” Kara emphasised.

With Zulu now being sentenced, Kara stressed that the NPA welcomed this successful prosecution, and they commended the sterling work done by the prosecution and investigation team.

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