KwaMhlanga, Mpumalanga - He has no idea why he raped and strangled his 92-year-old grandmother, but he is very sorry for what he did, a 38-year-old man from KwaMhlanga in Mpumalanga has told the Pretoria High Court.
Sipho Oupa Kubeka pleaded guilty to raping and murdering his gran, Konzaphi Elizabeth Kubeka, on September 4 last year - exactly a year ago on Tuesday.
In his explanation of plea, Kubeka said he raped his grandmother as she was dying. He said he had gone into her bedroom, and found her sleeping on the floor. He picked her up and put her on the bed and strangled her. He then raped her before pulling a blanket over her.
There was blood on his clothes and he took them off and stuffed them under her bed, he said.
“I strangled her with my hands and I had sex with her,” Kubeka said, but added in his statement to court that he did not know why he did this.
After Judge Selby Baqwa convicted him of murder and rape, Kubeka took the stand to testify in mitigation of sentence.
He told the court he was remorseful for what he had done.
“She was my granny - my father’s mother. All I want is for my family to forgive me.”
Asked by the State why he had done this, Kubeka remained silent and looked down for a long time, before he said softly: “Yes, I did this to my 92-year-old granny.”
Asked what had gone through his mind while he was doing this, he again remained silent for a long time before he replied softly: “I don’t know.”
Kubeka said he had been living with his gran at the time and there were no problems between them.
“Why did you treat her so badly and took her life?” the judge wanted to know.
Kubeka replied that he “did not know what went on in his mind”.
The judge said he wanted to understand what prompted Kubeka to turn so violent against such an old woman.
“Something must have made you do it,” the judge said.
Kubeka once again said “he did not know [why]”.
The court also heard that his grandmother had at some stage helped to raise Kubeka.
He was again living with her at the time of the murder, and she was using her meagre pension to put food on the table for him.
His aunt, Annah Sibiya, testified in aggravation of sentence. She said Kubeka had not apologised to the family for what he had done to her mother.
She said she did not accept the apology he tendered to the family in court on Tuesday.
Asked whether the family would accept him back if he did not receive a prison sentence, Sibiya said she would not accept him.
“I am afraid of him,” she told the court.
Sibiya testified that the relationship between her mother and Kubeka had been shaky, with the old woman often complaining about his behaviour.
“She told me that if we found her dead, we must know it is (Kubeka).”
Sibiya said Kubeka also used to say that “one day you will find your mother dead”.
Sibiya said she had asked her older siblings to mediate, but her mother had been murdered before they could do anything.
Kubeka visited Sibiya’s house the night before the murder and she again saw him the next morning, when she went to visit her mother.
He came running out of the yard, saying that he was going to meet friends.
Sibiya made him go back into the house with her to find her mother.
“We walked to her room and I called ‘Mom, mom’. I saw her on the bed and tried to wake her up, but I realised she was dead. I asked him what could have happened. He never said it was him.”
The defence asked the court to show mercy in sentencing Kubeka. The State called for a life term, asking what went on in a person’s mind to strangle and rape a defenceless woman of 92 and what such a person would want to achieve by this.
Kubeka is to be sentenced on Wednesday. - Pretoria News