Captain sentenced to 18 years for gunning down wife in front of toddler

2015-10-14 22:30
(File, iStock)

(File, iStock)

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Pretoria - A former Springs police captain who gunned down his estranged wife in a fit of rage in front of their 2-year-old son was on Wednesday sentenced to 18 years imprisonment.

Collen Matekola, 41, was sentenced for the December 24, 2012 murder of his wife, Pretoria police constable Nonhlanhla Martha Masia, 32, at her home in Kwathema.

Matekola "lost it" and fired six shots - two from a very close range - at his wife after finding her with another partly dressed man.

He first shot his wife in the stomach and kept on firing at her while she fled. He started driving away from the scene when she fell, but reversed when he saw her getting up, returned and shot her in the head.

He claimed he never knew she had an affair, although she left him four months before the incident, and insisted in court that he had acted in self-defence.

Judge John Murphy said the State had not established that it was a premeditated murder. If anything, it was clear that the court had to do with a crime of passion with Matekola acting out of jealousy, humiliation and anxiety when he realised his wife had a relationship with someone else.

Defence advocate Amos Vilakazi argued that Matekola was a rural son of the African soil who had worked himself up to a teacher and senior officer in the police force.

He had been an example of what a good citizen should be and had walked the straight and narrow until one fateful moment when he lost it, Vilakazi argued.

Judge Murphy said the crime was extremely serious as it had been committed by a police officer sworn to protect society, yet lost control in a fit of jealous rage and executed his wife in full view of his 2-year-old son.

The fact that he administered two close shots at the deceased to finish her off was aggravating.

There was no doubt that the image of his father executing his mother will stay with the child for the rest of his life.

The judge emphasised the high levels of homicide in South Africa, which was the country with the highest level of femicide in the world, with extreme violence against women by enraged men who sought to possess them was an all too frequent feature.

Life was sacrosanct and especially innocent women needed to be protected. Those who committed femicide should know they do so at their peril.

Judge Murphy said although Matekola was an intelligent, highly motivated and well qualified go-getter and good father before the incident and did not pose an ongoing threat to society, one could not ignore the retributive aspect of punishment.

The brutality of the manner in which he terminated his wife's life far too prematurely and for the flimsiest of reasons could also not be forgotten.

He said Matekola did not strike him as especially remorseful as he never asked forgiveness and persisted with his false justifications.

Matekola was granted leave to appeal against his conviction and sentence, but will remain in custody.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime

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