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Former convict Gayton McKenzie vows to help Sindisiwe Manqele rebuild her life after parole release

27 May 2022 - 11:00
PA leader Gayton McKenzie has offered to help Sindisiwe Manqele.
PA leader Gayton McKenzie has offered to help Sindisiwe Manqele.
Image: SUPPLIED

Former convict turned Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie has vowed to help Sindisiwe Manqele rebuild her life after her release on parole this week. 

Manqele stabbed Skwatta Kamp star Nkululeko “Flabba” Habedi in the chest at his Alexandra, Johannesburg, home in 2015. She pleaded not guilty to murder, saying she had acted in self-defence, but was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for murder.

Her release has sparked fierce debate, with some saying she should have served her full sentence behind bars.

McKenzie reached out to Manqele on social media, saying he and PA deputy leader and ex-convict Kenny Kunene would help her rebuild her life.

“I know that stigma will become your new shadow, Sindisiwe Manqele. God forgave you, the family of Flabba graciously forgave you, you served your time. It’s going to be harder to forgive yourself at times. Kenny Kunene and I will help you rebuild your life whenever you are ready,” he said.

McKenzie's gesture drew mixed reactions, with some asking why he chose to help rebuild the live of someone who is “fresh from jail” instead of the people who need his help the most. 

McKenzie said he was doing so because half his workforce are former convicts. 

“We are the biggest advocates for second chances. We have been helped and we continue to pay it forward,” he said

“A lady called Ria de Villiers helped me upon my release from jail. Many warned her against me, she nonetheless taught me many things about success. I have since helped thousands of people. I am the last person on earth to turn my back on any ex-convict. I will never.”

The department of correctional services said Manqele was released on parole after serving a portion of her sentence.

The decision was taken by the correctional supervision and parole board after it assessed Manqele’s profile for parole consideration.

Correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said Manqele’s parole placement was in line with section 73 of the Correctional Services Act, which determines the minimum period of sentence that must be served before consideration may be granted for possible parole. 

Flabba’s brother Tshepang Habedi told Sowetan his family had forgiven Manqele.

“This was bound to happen. She is out. I have healed. I have accepted things a long time ago. I’m at peace with the whole thing. My mother, I presume, is also at peace with it. I spoke to her and she said there is nothing we can do. If we dwell on that we will be going backwards.

“We have forgiven her. That is the only way we could move on. If we had not forgiven her we wouldn’t move on. It was very hard, trust me, but we had a conversation as a family and made that decision,” he said. 

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