Brutal Msinga stoning: Judge sends a message

2013-04-18 00:00

STONING a person to death is barbaric, Acting Judge Avril Potgieter said in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday when he sentenced Sphamandla Ngubane (35) to life imprisonment for the murder of Ntombifuthi Hadebe in April 2009.

Potgieter found that there were no compelling or substantial circumstances that would allow the court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of life imprisonment for the murder, or for Ngubane’s kidnapping of his former lover, Fikile Shange, on the same night, for which he was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.

The court found that he had dragged Shange from her home and tried to force her into a vehicle with Hadebe, but she managed to escape. Potgieter said Hadebe was killed in the most gruesome and vicious way possible. The stone used to kill her was so heavy that it needed to be picked up with both hands.

“Women should be allowed to walk on the road and not fear for their lives,” said Potgieter.

The judge said the evidence of the investigating officer, Lieutenant Simphiwe Mbanjwa, about the violence and lawlessness in Msinga was alarming.

He said the people of Msinga failed to report serious offences like housebreaking, robbery and murder for fear of retribution from criminals, because there was a real possibility that they would be killed.

He said the sentence imposed on Ngubane should send a message to the people of Msinga and the community as a whole that violent crimes would not be tolerated.

Potgieter said the manner in which Ngubane had conducted himself showed a total disrespect for the law and the sanctity of human life.

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