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Pietermaritzburg - Cellphones are a common motive for murder in South Africa, a high court judge said on Wednesday.
Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Rishi Seegobin was sentencing a man who killed a friend in a fight about a cellphone.
“What is it about cellphones that people kill for them? Killing for a cheap cellphone is the level to which some sick people have sunk,” said Seegobin.
He was sentencing Weenen wedding photographer Thembazane Sikakhane to 13 years' imprisonment for the murder of Nkosinathi Khanyile in August.
Sikhakhane had borrowed Khanyile's phone to download music. When Khanyile asked for it back the next day, Sikhkhane said he had not finished downloading.
This, and the consumption of alcohol, led to an argument and a fight during which Sikhakhane pulled out an Okapi knife and stabbed and cut Khanyile's neck and chest about 10 times.
Sikhakhane pleaded guilty to the murder.
Seegobin found that the guilty plea and his co-operation with the police indicated remorse.
He had also apologised to the bereaved family, paid it R2 000 and given it a cow. He was a first offender.
Seegobin found that these were substantial and compelling factors justifying a deviation from the prescribed sentence of 15 years for a first offender.