Two men were recently convicted and each sentenced to six years imprisonment for being in possession of rhino horn. File picture: Timothy A Clary

Pietermaritzburg - A man who murdered his girlfriend after finding her in bed with another man, has been sentenced to 20 years behind bars.

Thabani Radebe, 34, a driver for CHC Catering in Pietermaritzburg, pleaded guilty at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday to the murder of his long-time girlfriend, and the mother of his child, Ntombenhle Mbelu, 32.

He admitted that he had stabbed Mbelu multiple times and slit her throat at her home in Himeville on the night of March 4.

Mbelu, who was a nurse at Edendale Hospital, was killed in full view of the couple’s 4-year-old son.

In his plea, Radebe said he had started dating Mbelu in 2003 and had planned to marry her.

“I even paid for her tuition at nursing college, which cost me a lot of money, but this did not bother me because she passed well and got her dream job at a hospital,” Radebe said.

The couple’s good fortune continued when they had a child to bless their relationship, he said.

“The incident on March 4 came as a surprise to me. I felt let down and got very angry and lost my temper. I loved her and trusted her too much. I did not expect that,” Radebe said.

The State submitted that Mbelu had ended her relationship with Radebe, and on the night of the murder, he had gone to her house to speak to her armed with an okapi knife and a knobkierie.

When he arrived, he found her with another man, identified only as Mbatha.

Radebe attacked Mbatha with the knobkierie as he exited the house, but Mbatha managed to overpower him and he fled.

Radebe later returned to the house and killed Mbelu.

Delivering sentence, Acting Judge Louis Barnard said that from the evidence it was clear Radebe had lost his temper.

“I believe he (Radebe) would not otherwise have inflicted such injuries on a woman he clearly loved. He may have been provoked by circumstances which unfolded before him, but that is part of life. It does not excuse his subsequent actions,” Judge Barnard said.

The judge said that while Radebe had shown remorse for his actions, he should also accept responsibility for what he had done.

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