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August 18, 2001
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Inkatha politician convicted of Indian family's murder

Fakir Hassen in Durban

Two men, one a former senior politician, were found guilty by the Durban high court of killing a South African Indian family of five in a lover's tiff two years ago.

Judge Shyam Gyanda convicted former Inkatha Freedom Party councillor Jabulani Sibiya and Samson Mthembu for the murder.

The killing was a revenge attack after the death of a councillor from the same party, who was having a relationship with a member of the slain family.

The judge described Sibiya as "the prime mover" behind the killings.

The court had earlier heard that one of those killed, Sheriza Singh, had been having an affair with Inkatha councillor Gavin Wessels, who was killed a day before the attack at the home of Singh and her family.

Wessels was killed while he was engaged in an argument over Singh with her former lover, Nico Devan Naraidu.

Also killed in the attack on the Singh family's New Guilderland sugar estate in June 1999 were Singh's mother Nirmala, her grandmother Sabithree, and her brother's fiancÚ Meraska Naicker.

The two men were also found guilty of attempting to murder Ujen Singh, Sheriza's brother. He was wounded during the attack, but was the sole survivor.

The evidence of two accomplices, who turned state witness in return for indemnity from prosecution, bolstered the case against the two killers.

The state has called for the maximum life sentence for the convicted men. The death penalty has been abolished in South Africa.

Indo-Asian News Service

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