A Pretoria father will spend a long time in jail after he was sentenced to two life terms for raping and murdering his 11-year-old daughter and murdering his girlfriend.
The High Court in Pretoria, sentenced Kenneth Sego Debeila, 33, from Nellmapius, to two life terms for the rape and murder of his daughter, Angela Tshepang Makhura.
Debeila was also sentenced to 15 years direct imprisonment for the murder of his girlfriend of 18 years, Itumeleng Makhura.
The court ordered that the sentences run concurrently and he be declared unfit to possess a firearm, said Lumka Mahanjana, the National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson.
Under the court order, Debeila’s name will be added to the national register for sexual offenders.
Judge Mashudu Munzhelele said if Debeila were one day considered for parole, the families of the victims must be informed and could make representations. Under the law, he will have to serve at least 25 years in jail before he is considered for parole.
The court heard evidence that Deneila and Makhura had gone to his home from a club on March 18, last year. A verbal and physical altercation had ensued between the couple.
Debeila had then strangled her and hidden her body under the bed.
The following day, the two children he had fathered with Makhura – Angela and her brother, five – had visited him for a sleepover at his house.
That night, the son had shared a room with a relative, and Angela had shared a bed with her father. That was when Debeila raped and strangled his daughter.
The following morning, the children’s grandmother had met Debeila on the way to his house.
He had been carrying bags. When she asked about the girl, he told her she was sleeping at his house. The grandmother then went to the house, looked through the window and spotted the child’s body on top of the bed. Foam was coming out of her mouth.
The shocked grandmother returned home and phoned the police.
Meanwhile, Debeila had hid the child’s body under the bed.
The community had then started searching for the child and eventually made the gruesome findings under the bed.
Debeila was arrested two months later in Limpopo after handing himself over to the police.
He pleaded guilty to the charges and, through his attorney, told the court he was remorseful because he had handed himself over to the police and had not wasted the court’s time, pleading guilty.
However, prosecutor Thembile Nyakama said Debelia had pleaded guilty only because the State had overwhelming evidence against him, and DNA linked him to the rape.
The prosecution said it was an aggravating factor that Deneila had killed his girlfriend, the mother of his children.
Regarding the rape and murder of his daughter, the court was told that he was supposed to have protected her, yet he had chosen to rape and kill her.
Nyakama asked the court to impose a sentence of life imprisonment.
She called to the stand the family of the victims. They said that since the incident, they have been unable to sleep and were suffering from ill health.
Judge Munzhelele agreed with the State that there were no mitigating factors and said such offences were prevalent.
The judge noted that gender-based violence (GBV) has been declared a pandemic in South Africa.
As such, the judge said, courts must ensure that the sentence given aligned with the gravity of the offence.
Judge Munzhelele found no compelling and substantial circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence as prescribed in law.
The Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Sibongile Mzinyathi, welcomed the sentence and hoped it would send a strong message that GBV would not be tolerated.