20 years jail time for truck driver who stabbed his friend in the heart over a stolen cellphone

Published Nov 22, 2022


Durban - A 28-year-old KwaZulu Natal man who stabbed his friend several times for allegedly stealing his cellphone has been jailed.

Siphesihle Khelembe pleaded guilty to the murder of Philani Mankhangeni, in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

Judge Piet Bezuidenhout jailed Khelembe to 20 years behind bars.

In his Section 105A plea and sentence agreement, handed to the court by attorney Amanda Hulley, Khelembe outlined the events leading to the murder.

Khelembe, who worked as a truck driver, told the court that he had been friends with the victim for about two years.

Both lived in Pietermaritzburg.

On the day of the murder, on October 29, 2022, Khelembe said he had been drinking with Mankhangeni and his girlfriend at their house.

He told the court they had consumed Black Label beers and when it was finished they decided to go buy more.

Khelembe said during this time he realised his cellphone was missing and he suspected Mankhangeni’s girlfriend of stealing it.

He told the court that he confronted her about it, but she denied it.

Khelembe said he began arguing with the vicitm as they walked to the tavern.

“Outside the tavern, Mankhangeni grabbed my T-shirt and ripped it in half.”

Khelembe said he was angry and left the tavern and went to his sister’s home nearby and fetched a knife.

He stabbed Mankhangeni several times, stabbing him in the heart and lung.

Mankhangeni was taken to a nearby clinic but died on arrival.

After stabbing the victim, Khelembe fled the scene.

He went to his home in Dambuza.

Khelembe told the court that his sister told him that police were looking for him a few days later and that’s when he decided to hand himself over.

The matter was successfully prosecuted by Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Mbongeni Mthembu.