Justice has prevailed for 11-year-old Angela Tshepang Makhura and her mother Itumeleng Makhura, who were brutally killed by a father who was supposed to keep them safe.
Tshepang’s grandmother told the court that since the incident she has been unable to sleep and is suffering from memory loss and high blood pressure.
The High Court, Pretoria, sentenced Kenneth Sego Debeila from Nellmapius to two life terms for the rape and murder of his daughter, Tshepang.
Debeila, 33, was also sentenced to 15 years of direct imprisonment for the murder of his long-term girlfriend of 18 years, Makhura.
The court ordered that the sentences run concurrently, and that he be declared unfit to possess a firearm. Additionally, the court ordered that Debeila’s name be added to the national register for sexual offenders, and that the families of the victims be informed and can make representations should Debeila be considered for parole.
On March 18, 2022, Deneila and Makhura bumped into each other at a club, and afterwards went to his place. When they arrived a verbal and physical altercation ensued between the two of them, and Deneila strangled and killed her.
On March 19, 2022, the two children he shared with Makhura, Tshepang and a 5-year-old boy, visited him for a sleepover at his place.
That night the son shared a room with a family relative and Tshepang shared a bed with him. Debeila raped and strangled his daughter to death.
On March 20 2022, the mother and grandmother of the deceased bumped into Debeila. When she asked about Makhura, he told her that she was sleeping at his house, but when she arrived at the house and looked through the window she saw the 11-year-old girl’s body on top of the bed with foam coming out of her mouth.
When she went in, she called the police, and the body of the 11-year-old was taken. The community then started searching for Makhura.
After a while, they went back to the house to search for her again, and found her body under the bed later that day. Debeila was arrested two months later on May 13, 2022, in Limpopo after handing himself over to the police.
In court he pleaded guilty to the charges. Through his attorney he told the court that he was remorseful and had handed himself over to the police, and did not waste the court’s time by pleading not guilty. However, State advocate Thembile Nyakama said that Denelia only pleaded guilty because the state had overwhelming evidence against him, and DNA linked him to the offence. Furthermore, Nyakama said Deneila killed his girlfriend, the mother of his daughter whom he was supposed to protect, but he chose to rape and kill her. Therefore, she asked the court to impose a sentence of life imprisonment.
Judge Mashudu Munzhelele agreed with the State and said such offences are prevalent, and that gender-based violence (GBV) has been declared a pandemic in South Africa.
As such the courts must ensure that the sentence given aligns with the gravity of the offence. Therefore, she found no compelling and substantial circumstances to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence.
Director of Public Prosecutions advocate Sibongile Mzinyathi said she welcomes the sentence and hopes that it will send a strong message that GBV crimes will be prosecuted.