Cape Town – The mother of slain Nikita Lewis, Bonita Lewis, said she was “extremely relieved” and welcomed the life sentence handed to her daughter’s murderer by the Western Cape High Court yesterday.
Lewis, 24, sought refuge at the Saartjie Baartman Centre in Manenberg, where she was living for just over a month when she was stabbed 34 times by her boyfriend, Lloyd Simbarashe, on October 9, 2015.
Lewis was at the Pick & Save Superette in the area on that day with two other women and four minors when Simbarashe entered the shop and attacked her.
Bonita said she would take Nikita’s eight-year-old son, who still “misses his mommy very much”, on an excursion today to Cape Point or Table Mountain just to relax.
She said the outing was much needed after the past four years, which she described as “terrible”.
“I do feel justice has been done, although it feels like she died in vain.
“Why can’t they give harsher sentences. These people are so cruel and vicious. Why don’t they take their lives away,” she said.
Judge Melanie Holderness found Simbarashe guilty on all seven counts brought against him, including a charge of murder, five counts of assault, and housebreaking.
Holderness said yesterday that Simbarashe showed no remorse for his actions but regarded his reaction as “regret”.
The judge referred to Simbarashe’s plea statement in which he said “if a court found me guilty, then and only then will I apologise”.
She said, “society has been seriously fractured and people live in constant fear”.
“Crime has spread across the country like a malignant cancer and must be extracted at its roots.
“Despite all three arms of state addressing this, there is no indication that the war against crime is gaining traction in the country.
“On the contrary, crime statistics paint a bleak picture. It’s worsening,” Holderness said.
The judge condemned Simbarashe’s counsel, advocate Sheriff Mohammed, for his attitude towards the court.
She said she would have Mohammed reported to the Legal Aid Bar as every accused was entitled to “competent legal representation”.
Bonita said her grandson, who was “a smart pupil”, was struggling at school and was now struggling with dyslexia.
“I asked him if he thinks of his mom and he said ‘yes, I think of my mom’. I told him that his mom was an angel and he said I was talking nonsense.
“I said she was - Jesus came to fetch her because Jesus knew that man (Simbarashe) was going to hurt her,” Bonita said.
The Lewis family was supported by gender-based violence survivors from the Saartjie Baartman Centre.
Centre director Bernadine Barchar welcomed the sentence.
“I think it is an appropriate sentence that protects society, and today she did that.
“The judge sent a clear message that gender-based violence would no longer be tolerated in South Africa,” Barchar said.