Man who killed for a DVD player sentenced to life

2008-05-27 00:00

Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Kate Pillay sentenced a 27-year-old man, Mlungisi Ngubane, to life plus 15 years’ imprisonment here yesterday for the "callous and heinous" murder of a 71-year-old woman in the Pietermaritzburg area on August 7 last year.

"That a picture paints a thousand words cannot be more true when one has sight of the photo album, in this case depicting the deceased after this brutal killing," the judge said.

She said words could not describe the trauma and indignity the elderly victim — Nomalanga Lena Gcabashe — suffered in the last moments of her life. She was severely assaulted and in the photographs her face appeared completely "mangled".

"This is another statistic in the senseless killings that occur with such regularity in this country … where people show such blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life," Pillay said.

Earlier, state advocate Maggie Mahuma had urged the court to send a "loud and clear message" to society that courts will uphold the right to life, especially now when South Africa is engulfed in violence.

She said elderly people living alone are no longer safe and attacks on them are on the increase.

Pleading guilty to Gcabashe’s robbery and murder, Ngubane said he had been drinking with friends on the night in question. Later, when he passed Gcabashe’s home, he decided to break in and steal her DVD player.

He put his hands through a broken window pane and entered via the window. While removing the DVD, he knocked over a radio and speaker, which alerted Gcabashe to his presence. She yelled out and grabbed hold of him.

"I noticed a bush knife, which I took possession of and struck the deceased twice on her head with it. She then fell to the floor," he said.

Ngubane said he took the DVD player and fled.

A postmortem report revealed that Gcabashe suffered head injuries, including a fractured skull, and fractured ribs.

Judge Pillay said the murder illustrated that the value of life was "as cheap as a DVD machine".

That was all Ngubane had wanted, but he ended up taking Gcabashe’s life.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.