By Jonk wa Mashamba
The High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Local Division, Johannesburg has sentenced a 29-year-old Sabelo Leroy Puqa to 18 years imprisonment for murdering his girlfriend Palesa Mbali Shikonde, plus 2 years for assault.
According NPA spokesperson, Phindi Mjonondwane, on 05 May 2022 Shikonde was home with her brother Kamogelo in Soweto.
“While at the residence, Shikonde was seated with a male inside a parked car. The accused arrived at Shikonde’s home driving a blue car. He asked Kamogelo about Shikonde’s whereabouts.
“Kamogelo then told the accused that Shikonde went to buy food as she couldn’t cook due to loadshedding. The accused left and saw Shikonde inside a car.
“He went and knocked at the car’s window. Shikonde alighted and spoke to the accused. The car left shortly before Shikonde returned. Shikonde then got into the accused’s car and the accused drove off.”
Mjonondwane said the accused assaulted Shikonde with an open hand and strangled her because he suspected her of cheating on him.
She said he then took her to hospital and Shikonde was declared dead. The accused was then arrested at the hospital.
In court the accused pleaded guilty to the charges.
State Advocate Lourain Kgaditsi argued that women are killed daily in South Africa and requested the court not to deviate from the minimum prescribed sentence.
She added that the court should impose a term of imprisonment that will reinstill the public’s confidence in the courts.
She further stated that Shikonde was a mother of a four-year-old daughter whose mother will never be coming home again.
“The NPA welcomes the sentence and applauds Adv. Lourain Kgaditsi and the Investigation Officer Sergeant Thamsanqa Mkhize, hoping the sentence will send a message that crimes of GBV will not be tolerated,” Mjonondwane said.