The State, represented by advocate Keageletse Ilanga, described the murder of Nomalizo Nyenye as “overkill, barbaric and unnecessary”.
Nyenye’s boyfriend, Ishmael Molupi, pleaded guilty to the crime which took place at the Dingaan Hostels in Galeshewe on May 10 this year.
Molupi, in his plea statement on Monday, said that he was afraid of Nyenye after she had threatened him.
He stated that she was a traditional healer and he had witnessed how the behaviour of those who consulted her had changed.
Ilanga, however, argued that despite the apparent fear Molupi may have felt at the time of the incident, he could have chosen to walk away from the situation.
Ilanga said that some of the deceased’s injuries indicated that they were inflicted while Nyenye had her back to her attacker.
“The accused stabbed the deceased 45 times inside her own home. All the injuries are concentrated on the neck area. Some are at the back of the neck, which indicates that they were inflicted while the deceased had her back to the accused.
“What is more aggravating, is the fact that the deceased was killed by someone who was supposed to protect her from the community who might have pointed fingers at her, seeing as she was a prophet,” added Ilanga.
She said that the court needed to send a strong message because violence against women was all too prevalent in today’s society.
“There is no justification for the incident. A harsh sentence will send the message to the community that the courts will not tolerate violence against women.”
Ilanga said that the fact that Nyenye’s child was now dependent on his grandmother added to the pain of the loss the family had to deal with.
“A child has been robbed of a mother. The elderly mother of the deceased, whose income is a pension grant, now has to take care of the child. The family will have to live with the pain that their loved one was murdered."
“The State is not shying away from the plea of the accused, however, the family of the deceased will never see her again. The accused is still alive and his family will be able to visit him behind bars.”
Molupi’s attorney, Pierre Fourie, argued that the fact that the accused had pleaded guilty and was a first-time offender should be regarded as mitigating factors.
“There was no direct evidence against the accused. The accused also never wasted the court’s time by taking his chances regarding conviction,” said Fourie.
He added that there was no indication that the incident was a crime of passion.
“Unlike the previous cases heard by the court, there was no history of violence or jealousy between the accused and the deceased. It appears that the couple had a happy relationship. The accused indicated that the manner in which the deceased spoke to the accused must have truly filled him with fear, as she was a traditional healer.”
Fourie conceded that the incident was gruesome and that that was an aggravating factor.
He, however, argued that there were cases where men accused of similar crimes received sentences of less than 20 years.
“The court has to consider the fact that the accused is a first-time offender and pleaded guilty from the onset as a mitigating factor. The court needs to send out a strong messages on such crimes but the court also has to show mercy to the accused,” argued Fourie.
Nyenye’s mother, Miriam Matabane, was overcome with emotion when she testified how the incident had affected the family.
The elderly Matabane was consoled by family members when court had to be adjourned to afford her time to compose herself.
She pointed out that she was now the sole provider for her grandson as he had lost both his mother and father.
“My grandson is in Grade 4. My daughter was a prophet and her son lived with her. The father of the child also passed away just a month after my daughter. My grandson does not have a mother or father now. It is very difficult to take care of the child as my only income is the government pension grant that I receive on a monthly basis,” she said tearfully.
The only answer Matabane could utter when asked how she was coping, was that the matter was still an open wound. “It is hard it is very hard,” she cried.
The matter was postponed until Wednesday for sentencing.
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