Woman (22) sobs over sentence for brutal killing

2009-08-25 00:00

A 22-YEAR-OLD Pietermaritzburg woman wept in court yesterday when told she would spend her best years in prison for helping her boyfriend to kill his brother.

In the high court in Pietermaritzburg, Judge Kate Pillay sentenced Thandeka Zondi to 20 years in prison.

The judge said Zondi and her boyfriend, Siphesihle Mahlaba, took the law into their own hands when Siphesihle stabbed his sleeping brother Mondli.

Zondi pleaded guilty to Mondli’s murder and her trial was separated from that of the brother, whose trial starts next week.

Zondi told the court she had been threatened with death by Mondli and three friends. She hoped that if Mondli was killed, the others would not attack her.

Pillay said Zondi should have reported the threats to the police or laid a charge of intimidation against them.

Zondi said Mondli and his friends were angry at her after her promise that a sangoma would get them jobs failed to materialise.

They twice threatened to kill her, Zondi testified.

She said: “Siphesihle and I decided to kill Mondli and agreed that Siphesihle would try to stab him that night.”

She persuaded Mondli’s girlfriend not to sleep with Mondli that night so that Mahlaba could kill him.

“The next morning, I found Siphesihle in the kitchen and he said he had killed Mondli,” Zondi testified.

“I admit I planned with Siphesihle to kill Mondli and took no action to prevent it. On the basis of common purpose, I aligned myself with Siphesihle’s intention to unlawfully kill Mondli and I am, therefore, guilty of his murder.”

Pillay said the postmortem report on Mondli’s injuries showed that Mahlaba had been extremely angry.

“What makes this murder worse is that Mondli was the brother of her boyfriend,” the judge said.

“These murders are commonplace in this country. It was the epitome of gratuitous violence. There was a total disregard for the sanctity of human life.”

Pillay found substantial circumstances for Zondi, which allowed her to deviate from handing down the prescribed life sentence for premeditated murder.

These were that Zondi was 20 at the time, was a first offender, was under the influence of Siphesihle, and had prospects for rehabilitation.

She had also been in custody for nearly a year and had agreed to testify against Siphesihle in his trial, the judge said.

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