GAUTENG provincial commissioner of police, Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela on Friday welcomed the conviction of Julius Lucas for the murder of young South African actor Sibusiso Khwinana in 2019.
The 36-year-old Lucas, was found guilty of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and contravening the Immigration Act by the North Gauteng High Court on Thursday.
Gauteng police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Mavela Masondo, said Lucas stabbed and killed Khwinana during a robbery of a cellphone at Sterland Mall in Arcadia, Pretoria.
“The police arrested him and the investigating officer gathered and presented all the evidence to court, which led to the successful conviction by Judge Portia Phahlane,” said Masondo.
In congratulating the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Phuti Thlotse, and all the police officers who were involved in the arrest, Mawela said the conviction showed that the SAPS would not leave a stone unturned in pursuit of killers.
“This conviction will go a long way in showing that police will hunt down those who have no respect for human lives and bring them to book so that they can account for their heinous deeds,” said Mawela.
The sentencing of Lucas is scheduled to be handed down on March 28 in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
In December, Khwinana’s family finally breathed a sigh of relief as the trial of Lucas, who killed the “Matwetwe” star officially started.
At the time, Khwinana's father Nelson Khwinana told Pretoria News that he was relieved that there was finally some movement in the case, as the family had been seeking answers for the senseless killing of his third son since March 1, 2019.
He added that his wife had opted to stop coming to court due to the slow progress and frequent postponements.
Khwinana, 25, was stabbed in March 2019 during a robbery outside Sterland Mall in Arcadia, Pretoria, where he had attended the screening of ’Matwetwe’, the locally-produced movie he starred in.
According to the police, Khwinana and a friend were on the corner of Pretorius Street and Steve Biko Road when Lucas – a Tanzanian national – accosted him and demanded his cellphone.
The actor was stabbed with a sharp object in the upper body as he tussled for his cellphone, and was certified dead on the scene.