Final arguments in the pre-sentencing proceedings in the case against Mkhuseli Mamane, who was found guilty of murder after stabbing a man to death outside a nightclub, were heard in the Northern Cape High Court on Thursday.
Mamane was found guilty in the Northern Cape High Court in August this year of stabbing Bhekithemba Mpalweni to death with a knife at Capello’s Pub in September last year.
Mamane was arrested shortly after the incident. Although he admitted to stabbing Mpalweni, Mamane claimed that it was in self-defence and that he had been continuously provoked and threatened by Mpalweni. He also said that the deceased repeatedly called him a “kwedini”, which refers to an uncircumcised man in isiXhosa.
Acting Judge Ntombizanele Ndlokovane, when handing down judgment, said that it was clear that Mamane overreacted and exceeded the bounds of self-defence “by a very considerable margin” and that he had stabbed Mpalweni with the intention to murder, “dolus directus”.
Tuesday’s pre-sentencing proceedings got under way with Mamane’s legal representative, advocate Sakkie Nel, first handing in a report by Mamane’s psychiatrist, Dr David Kirimi, and then calling his client to the witness stand to testify in mitigation.
Mamane testified that he was willing to help Mpalweni’s family financially with a R50 000 payment “up front” as well as R3 000 per month, if given a non-custodial sentence.
He added that while this would not bring Mpalweni back, he “felt the pain of the family”, who had lost their sole breadwinner.
He also asked for forgiveness from the family, saying that it was not his intention to kill Mpalweni.
Mamane testified that he was now taking medication after seeing a psychiatrist as he was struggling to sleep and having flashbacks and nightmares following the incident.
The State prosecutor, advocate Keageletse Ilanga, said that Mamane’s apology was “pointless” as Mpalweni’s family was not in court, and put it to him that he was not feeling remorse but rather regret, and only because he was now incarcerated.
During closing arguments, Nel asked the court to take the circumstances surrounding the incident into account during sentencing.
“This was not a cold-blooded murder and not premeditated. It happened in the spur of the moment, after the deceased provoked and humiliated the accused by calling him a “kwedini”, while alcohol also played a role. The deceased was not unblameable,” said Ne.
Nel indicated that Mamane had shown remorse after contacting Mpalweni’s family to arrange a meeting in order to possibly assist them financially with his funeral - which the family declined.
He asked the court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment.
Ilanga, in turn, asked for a more hefty sentence. She said Mamane had been found guilty of a very serious offence and did not show remorse, as he had not pleaded guilty and had presented himself in an “arrogant manner” in court.
She requested Judge Ndlokovane to impose an 18 to 25 years’ direct imprisonment sentence.
Sentencing is expected to take place during Mamane’s next court appearance.
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