By Jonk wa Mashamba
The High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Local Division, Johannesburg has sentenced Samuel Thokozane Sibeko earlier today to 20 years for killing a woman he was in a relationship with.
He was further sentenced to three years imprisonment for defeating the ends of justice by hiding her body underneath his bed.
Sibeko pleaded guilty to all counts and following the state’s acceptance of his plea, the court accordingly found him guilty on all counts.
The matter was then postponed to 11 October 2021 for sentencing proceedings.
In his plea explanation, Sibeko admitted that in the early hours of 26 June 2019, he strangled Mathapelo Alice Mbele inside his shack at Vlakfontein until she fell to the ground.
He said that there was a heated argument about her coming home drunk the previous night.
He added that, he then tied her hands and feet separately and then left his shack for a few hours, thinking that she just lost consciousness.
Phindi Mjonondwane, NPA
Regional Spokesperson, said upon his return, he found that she was not breathing and it then dawned on him that he had killed her. Out of panic, he covered her body with a blanket and left to sleep with friends.
“After the fifth day, he decided to bury the body underneath his bed as an attempt to hide the crime from his friends, family and the police. When people asked about her whereabouts, Sibeko told them she went job-hunting and never came back.
“He continued sleeping over at his friends, but would go over to his shack on weekends to check if the grave under his bed was not discovered.
“He stated that, on 04 August 2019, he could no longer live with what he has done and decided to tell a communal friend about the murder and the grave. Sibeko asked the friend to call the police and when they arrived, he pointed out the grave,” said Mjonondwane
The State Advocate, Coleen Ryan argued that violence against women had become a pervasive phenomenon internationally and this country has become the femicide capital of the world.
“The killing of women by their partners has clearly become an epidemic and enormous social problem,” said Ryan.
Ryan further argued that this unconstitutional behavior should no longer be tolerated.
When handing down a sentence, the Judge remarked that the court must individualise sentences and make it clear that this behavior cannot be tolerated.
“Men must protect women. The court must impose a proper sentence. This was a gruesome murder. The accused did not take the court wholly into his confidence and therefore failed to show genuine remorse”, he said.