Killer gardener jailedComment on this story
Pretoria - A former gardener who murdered his elderly employer in a fit of rage because he refused to pay his wages and called him a “kaffir” was jailed for 15 years on Tuesday.
The High Court in Pretoria sentenced Jacob Pantsi Mmekwa, 32, of Stinkwater, to 12 years' imprisonment for murdering his 68-year-old employer Sarel Koekemoer on his smallholding at Bultfontein, north of Pretoria, in September 2009.
Mmekwa was sentenced to a further three years' imprisonment for stealing his employer's firearm and the illegal possession of the firearm and ammunition.
The sentences will not run concurrently.
His friend Levy Mthombeni, 21, was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for the firearm offences, but will only have to serve a short period behind bars before his sentence is converted to correctional supervision.
Judge Cynthia Pretorius found the murder had not been premeditated and Mmekwa had been provoked, as he had not been paid his salary.
“An argument ensued when he 1/8went to 3/8 fetch his money, and the unchallenged evidence was that the deceased refused to pay him, accusing him of stealing and swearing at him.
“The court cannot but find that where a person earns as little as R450 per month, and a week after payment was due had not yet been paid, that there was some provocation.
“However, this does not entitle people to murder. The accused could have gone to the police to try and solve the matter,” she said.
“...He was also called a “kaffir”, which is one of the words which should be eradicated from our language, as it is deemed to be such a gross insult,” she said.
Pretorius stressed that she had taken into account that Koekemoer's adult daughter had been traumatised by her father's violent death, even more so as she had found his body, and was on her own at the time.
“The accused's actions had deprived the daughter of the deceased of a father and her children of a grandfather, as well as his own son of a father.
“...(Mmekwa) will leave prison as a middle-aged man, thereby forgoing the joys of fatherhood, building a life and caring for his family,” she said. - Sapa