Harsh sentence a deterrent to gender-based violence and femicide, says Cabinet
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Pretoria – Cabinet has applauded the justice system for sending out an unambiguous message to would-be offenders with the triple life sentence handed down to rapist and murderer Mfanasibili Cornelius Mnisi by the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court in Mbombela.
“Cabinet welcomed the triple life sentence handed down to rapist and murderer Mfanasibili Cornelius Mnisi (29) by the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court in Mbombela recently. This harsh sentence demonstrates the zero-tolerance approach against GBVF (gender-based-violence and femicide) by the criminal justice system,” said Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele.
Mnisi was sentenced last month for his reign of terror, where he tormented “defenceless women” between December 2011 and November 2015.
Spokesperson for the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Colonel Donald Mdhluli, said: “The court then took the decision to remove him from the society for a very long time so that women would walk freely, knowing that one of the perpetrators of gender-based-violence is behind bars”.
The court heard how in December 2011, Mnisi took advantage of an 18-year-old woman after she lost contact with her friends at a tavern in Matsulu.
“Mnisi offered to take her home but detoured along the way and drove to his house with her and, upon arrival, held her hostage using a knife then raped her. The matter was reported to the police in Matsulu, where a case was opened accordingly and the docket assigned to the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) in Kanyamazane for further investigation,” said Mdhluli.
Mnisi went on to prey on another woman, aged 29, in October 2014.
“The woman was on her way to catch a bus to work in the morning. The accused offered to take her to the bus stop. He, instead, took her to a secluded area where he raped her upon arrival and strangled her to death,” said Mdhluli.
“The accused then dumped her body in a river thereafter. Her body was later recovered by a member of the public who alerted the police, and a case was opened accordingly with an investigation instituted where a manhunt was launched for the suspect.”
In November 2015, Mnisi preyed on a 20-year-old woman who he had invited to visit him at Matsulu. Mnisi introduced the woman to one of his family members but later took her to a secluded area at night where he raped and strangled her until she was unconscious.
“The accused thought that the woman was dead, and as a result, he dumped her at the Kruger National Park. She later regained consciousness and found an opening in the fence, where she got help from people at the houses nearby. Police were informed as well about the incident where a case was opened accordingly,” said Mdhluli.
“A team of detectives from FCS at Kanyamazane worked tirelessly to locate and arrest the suspect. A breakthrough was made when they cornered Mnisi at Matsulu in November 2015. He was charged accordingly, and the state successfully opposed his bail, which implied that he went on trial whilst remanded in custody until he was convicted on 15 October 2021.”
Mnisi was given three life sentences on two counts of rape and on one count of murder. He was also sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for another separate count of rape and a further 15 years imprisonment for robbery plus an extra 15 years for another separate robbery.
For defeating the ends of justice, Mnisi was sentenced to three years imprisonment. He also received 10 years imprisonment for a count of attempted murder.