PROVINCIAL COMMISSIONER WELCOMES HEFTY SENTENCE HANDED DOWN TO A MAN WHO MURDERED HIS EX-PARTNER
NELSPRUIT – The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Manamela has welcomed a hefty sentence that was handed down to Skhumbuzo Patrick Khoza, aged 40 for the murder of his ex-partner Lourencia Zinhle Mathebula. The incident occurred on 26 December 2019. The sentence was imposed by the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court in Middelburg on Friday, 27 August 2021.
The court reached its decision to sentence Khoza after being satisfied with the evidence presented by the state against him. It is said that the relationship between the accused and Mathebula was abusive to a point that she (Mathebula) even applied for a protection order against him. The relationship then eventually ended but Khoza never accepted this and instead, he orchestrated a plan to end her life.
It is said that he posted intimidating and threatening messages on his Facebook account, a few days before the incident.
Khoza waited for an opportunity to strike and on the said day, he met with Mathebula who was in the company of her brother. He then requested the brother to excuse them and pretended as if he wanted to have a decent conversation with her.
The brother then went away for a while and on his return, he shockingly witnessed his sister being shot several times by the accused. The accused then fled the scene, leaving the victim bleeding profusely with her brother in a helpless situation. Mathebula was unfortunately later certified dead by the paramedics and police at Elukwatini opened a murder case where a manhunt was immediately launched for the suspect who skipped the country and went into hiding at the Kingdom of Eswatini.
Members of the Detectives at Elukwatini worked tirelessly in their investigation and were assisted by members of the community who shared information with police on the whereabouts of Khoza. The astute members then followed up on the information where on 05 January 2020 Khoza was arrested on the N17 road whilst on his way back from the Kingdom of Eswatini. He was charged for the murder of Mathebula and went on trial where he was convicted on 23 August 2021 hence his sentence on Friday was as follows:
The accused was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for the murder charge and he was further declared unfit to possess a firearm.
Lieutenant General Manamela has further thanked members of the public, as well as the Investigation Team, the Prosecution Team, and the Judiciary for their concerted effort which led to this notable sentence. The Provincial Commissioner also indicated that the sentence was given at the appropriate time amidst Gender-Based-Violence incidents reported during the August month where women are supposed to be celebrated. The General is hopeful that the sentence will send a stern warning to perpetrators of crimes against women that the arm of the law will catch up with them.
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