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Sphamandla Mlaba gets 25 years for strangling his girlfriend who dumped him

Published Jun 21, 2022

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Durban – A 34-year-old man who pleaded guilty to killing his girlfriend because she ended the relationship has been sentenced to 25 years behind bars.

Sphamandla Enock Mlaba, 34, of Estcourt, pleaded guilty in the Pietermaritzburg High Court to the murder of Thembelihle Hadebe on April 16, 2022.

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In a Section 105A plea-and-sentence agreement, heard before Judge Nompumelelo Radebe, Mlaba said that he had been in a relationship with Hadebe for five years.

Represented by advocate Pauline Andrews, Mlaba described the relationship as acrimonious, and said they fought a lot, especially in the last year of the relationship.

Mlaba said when Hadebe ended the relationship, it incensed him and he decided to kill her.

He said on April 15, he drove to her home in Winterton to speak to her.

When she refused to open the door, he broke down the door and entered the premises.

Mlaba said he had asked the deceased where his unborn children were buried, as she had had three abortions during their relationship.

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He said when Hadebe told him it was near the Njisuthi River, they both walked there at about 8.30pm.

Mlaba said while discussing their problems, he became angry and when the deceased tried to run way, he threw a stone at her and took a rope from his jacket and strangled her.

He said he continued telling her not to leave, but there was no response from her.

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Mlaba said he was scared and nervous.

It was around 2am when he left the deceased’s body. He later called Hadebe’s friend Jabu and told him he had killed Hadebe.

Mlaba said that while travelling in a taxi later that day, he heard that a body had been found at the river.

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In mitigation of sentencing, Mlaba said he was truly remorseful for his actions.

In a victim impact statement handed to the court by advocate Mbongeni Mthembu, Hadebe’s mother, Phindile Hadebe, described the anguish of telling her grandchildren that their mother was dead.

She said she was aware of the abuse in the relationship and said that Mlaba had promised to stop.

She asked the court to mete out a just sentence to protect other women in similar situations.

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