Pretoria -

A Soshanguve man was sentenced to life imprisonment by the High Court in Pretoria on Friday for killing a man during a house robbery.

Oupa Albert Sebeko, 29, stabbed Gerhardus Groenewald 51 times in his home in Magalieskruin, north of Pretoria, in February last year.

He was also sentenced to 15 years in prison for robbing the 48-year-old of his bakkie, clothes, personal items and television.

Sebeko admitted to the stabbing, but told the court he was not a murderer and had not been himself that day. He said it happened after having drinks with Groenewald.

Acting Judge Bert Bam described the murder as “barbaric and savage”.

Virtually no part of Groenewald's body had been left unscathed. Sebeko's intention had been to kill and mutilate Groenewald and he succeeded in doing so, the court heard.

Bam said Groenewald had apparently trusted Sebeko, who knew him and had worked for him before. There was no indication Groenewald had defended himself and it seemed the attack had come as a surprise.

Bam said the was no indication of remorse from Sebeko. He had boasted to others about the stolen possessions.

Sebeko had a previous conviction for assault, but told the court this was because his girlfriend had laid a charge against him after a confrontation. A probation officer said in a report that Sebeko had grown up under impoverished circumstances without the support of his parents and could never complete his schooling.

He supported a nine-year-old daughter doing odd jobs as a gardener and handyman.

Bam found there were no mitigating factors to justify any deviation from the prescribed minimum sentence.

He said the murder of Groenewald, a father of five, had a traumatic impact on his family.

Groenewald's wife Elize and children were in tears after Sebeko was sentenced, but said they could not hate him. Elize said her husband was a loving man who always made jokes and never hurt anyone. - Sapa