Family displeased at ‘light’ sentence

2017-02-15 06:03
Kagisho Peace Segoje (40) in the Northern Cape High Court in Kimberley on Wednesday (08/02) for sentencing with his attorney, Dries van Tonder. Segoje pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the murder of his niece, Natefo Segoje (15). In the background are, from the left, the deceased’s mother, Masabata Segoje, her aunt Kereng Galoi­tsewe and older sister, Ogone Segoje. Photo: Emile Hendricks

Kagisho Peace Segoje (40) in the Northern Cape High Court in Kimberley on Wednesday (08/02) for sentencing with his attorney, Dries van Tonder. Segoje pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the murder of his niece, Natefo Segoje (15). In the background are, from the left, the deceased’s mother, Masabata Segoje, her aunt Kereng Galoi­tsewe and older sister, Ogone Segoje. Photo: Emile Hendricks

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The law has finally caught up with Kagi­sho Peace Segoje (40) with his sentencing for the murder of his 15-year-old niece, Natefo Segoje, in February 2016.

Court proceedings had been postponed after he attempted to slit his own throat during an escape attempt on Tuesday, 7 February (see story above).

He was finally sentenced on Wednesday (08/02), bringing to an end the trial that had begun with his first court appearance in May last year.

The case had been referred to the Norhtern Cape High Court in Kimberley after his guilty plea in the Kathu Circuit Court.

The father of five was sentenced by acting judge Itiseng Matlapeng in the High Court.

The murder had taken place in Kuruman, where the accused and the victim had lived.

After the crime, Segoje had attempted to dispose of the body in a school drain before going on the run.

He faced three charges, namely murder, defeating the ends of justice and theft (for stealing the victim’s cellphone).

He was sentenced to 15 years for the murder charge, three years for defeating the ends of justice and 12 months for theft.

All sentences are to run concurrently.

Natefo’s decomposed body was discovered in a drain at the Mapoteng Primary School on 5 April last year, following her disappearance on 27 February after her mother gave her permission to attend the Desperado Charity Drive in Mothibistad.

Her body had reportedly shown strangulation marks and some body parts were missing.

Segoje was connected to the dissappearance of Natefo following the realisation that he was the last person to be seen with her. He had also reportedly answered her cellphone when the number was called.

He was arrested in Stella following the discovery of the body.

The family of the deceased feel that Segoje has gotten off lightly due to the recommendation by his attorney, Dries van Tonder, that he be given a lighter sentence due to his personal circumstances, his show of remorse and his admission of guilt.

Adv. Adele van Heerden of the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) argued against the recommendation and said that the accused should not get less than 15 years, due to the fact that the victim was a child and a family member who had expected that the murderer, a grown man, would protect her.

She emphasised the anguish of the pain and grief that the mother had gone through following the murder of her daughter, as well as the accused’s actions in disposing of the body.

Van Heerden used the report of social worker Nomatyala Mahumapelo, who described the trauma that the family was going through, as evidence.

Judge Matlapeng cited that certain guidelines should be considered and that Segoje should be punished as a human being, despite his inhumane actions.

According to Natefo’s mother, Ma­sabata Segoje, she could not stand to even look at the accused, as seeing him reminded her of the gruesome image of her daughter’s body, which she had been unable to recognise at the mortuary due to the state of decomposition.

She testified that the only item that was recognisable was the T-shirt that Natefo had been wearing.

“I passed out right there and cannot even remember what happened next, or what else I saw,” Masa­bata had said in the witness stand earlier, crying.

The worst was that she was not even given the opportunity to give her daughter a decent burial, due to the fact that the family had had to bury their daughter wearing masks.

The body could not even be taken home due to it being considered a health risk.

It was further revealed by the social worker that after the murder, Masabata had had to go though various psychological intervention measures and started suffering from high blood pressure and post-traumatic stress.

The family has reportedly been divided by the incident, as some continue to believe in Kagisho Segoje’s innocence. After the ruling, an emotional Masa-bata expressed her dissatisfaction and dissappointment in the judiciary system.

“We expected that he will get at least 30 years or more. Is that what the life of my daughter is worth?”

She said that the family will look at other legal ways of reviewing the sentence.

Doreen Bokgwathile, Natefo’s mo­ther’s cousin and spokesperson for the family, added in a statement that Natefo’s dissappearance would still be a mystery if the school drain had not become blocked.

“We would have never known where she was and Peace would have gotten away with murder. Is this not defeating the ends of justice?” she continued.

“Natefo had trusted him, she had even called him ‘uncle Peace’.

“Her other cousins are attending the same primary school where her body had been found and the thought of them using the same toilets is daily trauma for the poor six year olds.

“Is the NPA going to appeal this sentence like they did in the Oscar (Pistorius) case, or maybe they regard this sentence as appropriate? We feel that the justice system has failed our angel and our family. We are hurting, deeply hurting. It is our view that Peace should have been given three to five life sentences. We also know that he will be out of prison after five years.”

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