Dad who sacrificed girl sentenced

2010-11-20 00:00

A SWEETWATERS man, Smangaliso Ngubane (28) was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment yesterday for stabbing his toddler, Amini Xaba (17 months), to death — apparently as a sacrificial offering to his ancestors.

Acting Judge Nalini Govender told Ngubane the court could not understand how a person could kill his own flesh and blood.

“The victim was a toddler … barely over a year old.

“But you saw fit, for reasons known only to yourself, to inflict serious and fatal wounds on this helpless child,” she said.

The Judge said the court still did not know the reason why Ngubane “slaughtered” his own daughter, inflicting six stab wounds in her chest, abdomen and neck on July 30, 2008, but there was suspicion the child was used in a ritual.

Evidence that was accepted by the court, was that he told a friend, Samele Dube, that he killed the child as an “offering” to his ancestors.

“Its still not clear why the child had to be offered to the ancestors” the Judge said.

Govender said it was hoped the child suffered as little as possible. An eye witness, Hlengiwe Khuzwayo, did testify that the little girl did not cry or make any sound.

However, as was pointed out by State Advocate Attie Truter no-one could know what the child felt or thought when, in the last moments of her life, she was faced by her father with a knife and he’d attacked her. There was also evidence that after killing his daughter, Ngubane went out with the knife and grabbed another child, but when people screamed he let the child go.

In mitigation the court had regard to evidence that Ngubane “heard voices” and suffered hallucinations for months prior to the incident, and that witnesses described him as quiet and reserved before the murder.

They also said he’d loved his daughter and she loved him. The morning of the murder he had spoonfed her porridge.

Three psychiatrists (Dr Maria Dobreva, Dr John Dunn and Dr Berthold Lind) could find no evidence that Ngubane suffered from any mental illness or could not appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions when he stabbed his child.

Govender said Ngubane will have to live with what he did for the rest of his life.

Immediately after the court yesterday granted Ngubane leave to appeal against his sentence, the State noted it would apply for an increase in the sentence.

Truter had submitted prior to sentencing that Ngubane’s crime called for life imprisonment to be imposed.

He said Ngubane is clearly a danger to society who had not only killed his own daughter, but also threatened another child.

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