Double life for child killer

2010-07-20 00:00

MURMURS of approval echoed around the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday when Dennis Dumisani Zuma (32) of Mnyandu, Plessislaer, was handed two life sentences for the rape and murder of an 11-year-old neighbour, Nosipho Mkasibe, on May 3 last year.

The child’s body was found under a tree not far from Zuma’s home the following day.

Although Zuma denied he raped and strangled the child, he did not refute evidence that his DNA was found under the victim’s fingernails and in her vagina.

Acting Judge Z.P. Nkosi said Zuma’s actions were not only unsavoury, but also “brutal, callous and heartless”.

“It is too ghastly to imagine the trauma the young girl went through before you took her life,” he told Zuma.

The judge said Zuma showed no remorse and was not prepared to accept responsibility for his actions. The fact that he is HIV positive was not regarded as mitigating by the court.

The judge said there appeared to be no direct connection between an incident where Zuma’s dog was injured by Nosipho’s relative and the crimes. He found instead it was likely Zuma raped the little girl to satisfy his sexual desires and then killed her probably to hide his “horrible crime”.

Nkosi said that given the current levels of violence and serious crime in this country there is a feeling that the emphasis should be on retribution and the deterrent aspects of sentencing. “Retribution may even be decisive,” he said.

He said punishment meted out to Zuma should not only reflect the shock and indignation of interested parties and society at large, but also deter others from similar conduct.

“You showed no mercy to the little child and you deserve none for your crimes,” the judge said before ruling that there are no compelling and substantial circumstances that would justify the court imposing less than the prescribed minimum sentences of life imprisonment for both the rape and the murder.

The court took into account that Zuma has previous convictions for offences of violence, including murder, attempted murder, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and culpable homicide dating back to 1996. He also had a previous conviction in 1993 for possession of dagga.

The judge said Zuma’s history shows he does not have prospects for rehabilitation.

Hecalled Zuma a “dangerous individual” who should not be let loose on the community.

Over and above the sentences, Zuma will not legally be allowed to own a firearm in future.

Nkosi addressed the child’s relatives after sentencing and explained their rights to make representations to the commissioner of Correctional Services if Zuma ever becomes eligible for parole, which could only happen after Zuma has served at least 25 years’ imprisonment.

Zuma was refused leave to appeal against conviction and sentence.

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