Flabba's killer expected longer jail term

By Drum Digital
11 March 2016

The 12 year sentence handed to Nkululeko "Flabba" Habedi's girlfriend by the High Court sitting in Palm Ridge came as a surprise to her.

While arguing for her bail before the court on Thursday, Sindisiwe Manqele's lawyer, Norman Makhubela, said that his client knew from the onset that she possibly faced a 15 year jail term.

"She got less than what she expected," Makhubela said, although he had tried to push for the court to place her under correctional supervision.

She is 27 years old, and if released on parole after serving two thirds of her term, she will be in her mid-30s when she walks out of prison.

Makhubela tried to convince the court that Manqele would not be a flight risk, and should be released on bail following her conviction as he prepares to apply for leave to appeal both her sentence and murder conviction.

Heated argument

Judge Solly Sithole granted Manqele R25 000 bail. The bail conditions were accompanied by her also receiving a tracking bracelet, reporting to the police station twice a week and not leaving the province without the permission of the investigating officer in the case.

Manqele stabbed Habedi in the chest in March 2009 at his Alexandra home after the two of them were involved in a heated argument. The argument had been over Habedi's ex-girlfriend Kea, who had reportedly danced seductively in front of him at a Sandton nightclub just hours before the confrontation.

Manqele had pleaded not guilty to the murder charge against her, adding that she had acted in self defence after Habedi had pinned her down, rubbed his saliva over her face and poked at her stomach with a knife while accusing her of seeking men who could better provide for her financially.

During the trial, under a pressing cross-examination by Prosecutor Paul Schutte, Manqele buckled under pressure and told the court that she had intentionally stabbed Habedi.

"At the time that you executed the push-and-stab action, did you foresee the possibility that you would stab him?" Schutte asked her.

"Yes, I wanted to stab him, but I did not foresee where it [the knife] would land," Manqele told the court.

"So you intentionally stabbed him?" Schutte proceeded.

"I did... So that I could get out of the room," she replied.

Delivering his judgment on Thursday, Sithole said both Manqele and Habedi had been victims in the situation.

Sithole said he would show mercy and give Manqele less than the prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years.  He also took into consideration that she administered CPR to him immediately after the stabbing, showing that she was indeed remorseful for her actions.

"When I show you mercy, it does not mean that you are smart or clever and the court is stupid.  I show you mercy because mercy is part of justice in itself," Sithole said.

He however, did not hold back on telling Manqele how serious her crime was.

"It's a very serious offence in every language. It smells even to the nostrils of heaven. It is so serious that I cannot think of another crime more serious than except for treason," he said.

He told her that in the US, such a crime was punishable by execution through a poisonous injection.

In other African countries, they took offenders to a ditch where they opened fire on them until they died.

Sithole said the court imposed this sentence as a deterrent.

"The court needs to punish for deterrence... To stop you from committing future crimes... To stop you from killing your future boyfriend," Sithole said.

During mitigation of sentence, it was revealed that Manqele had been involved in previous abusive relationships.

She had left Spain in 2009 and headed for Ireland after her lover became possessive and abusive.

"You do well in future, if you fall in love with anybody, to make sure that you do not involve yourself in possessive and abusive relationships," Sithole advised Manqele.

He recommended that the department of justice not give Manqele parole until she has served at least two thirds of her sentence. This would mean she would only be eligible for parole after eight years behind bars.

He advised her to attend the life skills and self-esteem programme as well as the anger management programme while behind bars as a means of rehabilitation.

While the Habedi family welcomed Manqele's sentence, they said nothing would bring back the late rap star.

Source: News24

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