Dad jailed for tongue-ring killing

By Rizwana Sheik Umar Time of article published May 5, 2011

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A Durban father who was “incapable of remorse” was sent to jail for 15 years for brutally murdering his 16-year-old daughter with a live electrical wire for having had her tongue pierced.

Judge Shyam Gyanda, in sentencing Sphiwe Morgan Dlangisa, 40, said women and children were not being protected enough from abuse, and that the payment of lobola did not mean that a father “owned” his child.

A young relative of the victim Nonkululeko Dlangisa had testified to how the last time he had seen her, her father had been pouring water over her and electrocuting her on her legs, hands and shoulders with an exposed cable. The witness described her screams as that of a goat when it is being slaughtered.


changed his plea to guilty of murder, saying he had been “wrongly advised” by his previous counsel to plead not guilty to a charge of murder, alternatively culpable homicide.

On October 30, 2009, Dlangisa, who is not married and has seven children, found out that Nonkululeko, had had her tongue pierced.

After assaulting her in front of her siblings, Dlangisa told her mother, Nompumelelo Maphumulo, to bring her to his house to view the girl’s tongue stud.

The court had heard how Nonkululeko was assaulted during the night and early the next day, she was tied to an electricity pole outside his house, had water thrown on her and electrocuted until she lost consciousness.

Some time later, the girl was taken to the KwaMashu Polyclinic for treatment, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

A post-mortem examination established the cause of death as “blunt force soft tissue injuries and possible electrocution”.

Dlangisa told the court yesterday, in a statement read out by his Legal Aid attorney, Vusi Khathi, that as soon as he realised he had committed the offence, he made a statement admitting his actions, but that his previous legal counsel had advised him to plead not guilty.

In the statement, he said that, as a young boy, his father used to tie him up and hit him with a radio aerial to reprimand him.

The real motive had been to discipline Nonkululeko, not to kill her, he said.

Gyanda started yesterday’s from the Legal Aid Board to provide the court with a report from a clinical psychologist to guide the sentencing.

The matter had been postponed on three occasions for the report.

Gyanda described the situation as totally unacceptable, saying that further postponement would be a “clear waste of time” as there was no hope of getting it.

In passing sentence, Gyanda said that the evidence was that Dlangisa was a very violent person.

Earlier in the trial a close relative testified that Dlangisa had repeatedly called for his assistance to guard Nonkululeko while he went to find a rope to tie her to a chair inside the house. He said the last time he saw the deceased, she was tied to a pole outside and Dlangisa was pouring water over her and electrocuting her on her legs, hands and shoulders with an exposed cable as she screamed.

“This could never have, in his wildest dreams, amounted to disciplining a child,” Gyanda said.

“She was helpless and could not protect herself. You (Dlangisa), as the father of this child, were supposed to protect her, yet you beat her senselessly until she lost consciousness.”

The judge said women and children were not owned by their fathers and that the payment of lobola did not mean that one owned a person.

Before sentencing Dlangisa to a 15-year prison term Gyanda said:

“Had you been a human being capable of remorse, you would’ve stopped short of beating her into unconsciousness.”

He said that regardless of several media campaigns to stop the abuse of women and children, it was still rampant.

“All over the media, we hear that authorities are clamping down on men who abuse women and children, but it seems like people are still not learning,” Gyanda said.

“The message must go throughout the country that the abuse of women and children will not be tolerated in our courts.” - Daily News

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