Murderer Sinaye Mposelwa has been sentenced to an effective 25-year imprisonment for the premeditated murder of Ukrainian Ivan Ivanov, who was attacked while hiking on the East Fort hiking trail on Chapman’s Peak four years ago.
The Western Cape High Court on Monday found substantial and compelling circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentences of life imprisonment for a premeditated murder and 15 years imprisonment for robbery with aggravating circumstances.
The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently.
His two accomplices, Mathew Giyo and Franklin Isaacs, also robbed Ivanov of his belongings, according to the State.
The state claims Mposelwa, 27, Isaacs and Giyo decided to go to the hiking trail to rob hikers on July 27, 2019 and came across an unsuspecting Ivanov and demanded his belongings.
He did not cooperate, after which he was stabbed 11 times in the chest and back.
The three ran away but Mposelwa was stopped by two men who handed him to the police, according to the State.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said Mposelwa had bloodied clothes, was found in possession of the deceased’s belongings, was linked to the crime by DNA and was also positively identified during an identity parade.
Mposelwa pleaded guilty and in his plea explanation, he confessed to stabbing Ivanov.
Ivanov was a specialist in agriculture and fertilisation from a company based in Switzerland who visited South Africa to impart his skills to employees of the company which had branches in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Arguing for the court to impose the sentences, Adv Thamsanqa Kwetane, said the family of the father of two lost a breadwinner and the death also affected the community at large.
He told the court that there were no substantial or compelling circumstances for the court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentences.
Ntabazalila said the defence argued in mitigation of sentencing that the accused had been in prison for four years, he was influenced by his co-accused to commit the crimes, had taken the court into his confidence by pleading guilty and had voluntarily provided all the evidence used in the case. The defence told the court the accused considered testifying against his co-accused but had been threatened not to do this.
Judge Robert Henney described the accused’s actions as heinous, callous, and abhorrent but deviated from the prescribed minimum sentences.
“A sentence of life imprisonment is usually imposed when the court is of the view that the offender cannot be rehabilitated and should be permanently removed from society, or when the inherent seriousness of the offence and circumstances of a particular offence justifies the imposition of such a sentence.
“In this case, however, it cannot be said that the accused is a person that is incapable of rehabilitation. Although it can be argued that this accused was linked to the crime using damning evidence, it cannot be said that he is not remorseful.
“In my view, there are sufficient reasons to deviate from the sentence in respect of both offences. A sentence of life imprisonment would not be appropriate in this case, but a sentence of long-term imprisonment would send out a clear message that crimes such as these will not be countenanced even if committed by relatively young offenders.”
The court declared him unfit to possess a firearm in terms of Section 103 of the Firearms Control Act 60 of 2 000.
Giyo and Isaacs will appear in court on August 14.