The youngest defendant in the trial of six of the seven Angels Ministry members in Ngkobo, who were linked to a brutal attack on the city’s police station in 2018 in which five police officers were killed and several seriously injured, was sentenced by the Eastern Cape Mthatha High Court, on Tuesday, to 18 years in prison.
Sevishel Tatsy, 23, was convicted on 22 counts.
In his pre-sentencing testimony, he told the court that he had been raised in the church and had only tasted freedom after his arrest.
Many children who were raised in the church, Tatsy said, were not allowed to go to school or communicate with anyone outside the church.
He told the court that he would like to go to school and change his life while in prison.
He said that church members—even the elderly—were told they were soldiers and trained like soldiers. They were punished if they refused to follow the instructions of their elders, which included committing stock theft.
Tatsie testified that had he not killed the police officers he would have been killed or received harsh punishment.
During the sentencing, the court asked the NPA to reach out to social workers and rescue the children who remained in the church.
Read more at The Daily Maverick: Ngkobo killings: ‘Toothless’ committee gets closer to Concourt than Church of the Seven Angels
Tatsie pleaded guilty to 22 counts related to the murder of five police officers on duty, the attempted murder of their colleagues at Ngkopo Police Station on 21 February 2018, and a series of robberies. Police officers have been killed for their service weapons.
Tatsu was 18 years old when he committed the crimes.
Four of his fellow church members – Andani Monkho, 32, Kwanili Ndlwana, 24, Sivsumzi Chivu, 26, and Phumzile Mlatewa, 48, will stand trial in September.
The men are accused of murdering Warrant Officer Zuko Mbeni, and policemen Zuko Nelson Ntko, Nkosifendi Bongko, Sibongeseni Sandlana and Kohli Matita, as well as the attempted murder of three other police officers: Mfilisi Simweye, Onki Ngobe and Masango Nkambane.
Another defendant, Fothumil Mancoba (41), pleaded guilty to charges of defeating the aims of justice and unlawful possession of a firearm on December 3, 2018. DM