Pretoria - Pakistani national Ashan Fraz Cheema, 33, was sentenced to life imprisonment in the High Court in Polokwane for the murder of his girlfriend Mohlale Precious Magabane.
Limpopo spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi said Cheema got an additional two years for theft and five years for defeating the ends of justice.
“The accused Ashan Fraz Cheema fired his legal representatives more than seven times, in that regard, he ended up representing himself during the trial. During the trial, Raza Ali, a friend of the accused was called as a State witness to testify,” said Malabi-Dzhangi.
At the time of her murder, Magabane was a teacher at Kabishi Primary School in Mashamothane village.
Ali told the court that Cheema was communicating with him about his problems with Magabane. The court heard that on December 23, 2018, Cheema confessed to Ali that he had killed the woman, using a knife.
“Cheema further asked the witness (Ali) to bring five refuse bags. He further confessed that he dismembered the deceased’s body, placed her body parts in the refuse bags, and drove around disposing of the deceased's body parts at Lydenburg mountain along the R37 road,” Malabi-Dzhangi said.
“He (Cheema) contacted him (Ali) again, wanting his help to bury the deceased's head and hands at Mashifane Park sports ground. The DNA proved that the body parts belong to the deceased,” she said.
Despite pleading not guilty to the heinous crimes, Cheema was found guilty as charged.
In aggravation of sentence, advocate Nkhetheni Munyai, representing the State, submitted that murder is a serious offence and Cheema was not remorseful for his actions.
The court also heard that the death of Magabane had caused a huge impact on her family. The bereaved family “was unable to have a funeral for their loved one because the body parts were not found”.
Munyai further submitted that Magabane had two children, “who will never see their mother’s grave”. He prayed to the court to impose a life sentence on the murderer.
“During sentencing, Judge President Ephraim Makgoba said the accused was convicted of a serious offence, which falls under gender-based-violence and which is a big problem in this country. He further said that in imposing the sentence, the court will take into account the personal circumstances of the accused, the nature and seriousness of the offence and the interest of the society,” said Malabi-Dzhangi.
“The court sentenced Ashan Fraz Cheema, to life imprisonment for murder, two years for theft and five years for defeating the ends of justice,” she said.
The NPA has welcomed the sentence.
Director of Public Prosecutions in Limpopo, Advocate Ivy Thenga has commended the “good work of Warrant Officer Kotlolo Patrick Pila from the provincial Detective Unit and Advocate Nkhetheni Munyai.”