Activists happy with lesbian's killers' sentencing

2012-02-01 14:17

Cape Town - Almost six years after being brutally stoned, beaten and kicked to death, 19-year-old Zoliswa Nkonyana’s killers have been sentenced to jail for her murder.

On Wednesday, the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court sentenced Lubabalo Ntlabathi, Sicelo Mase, Luyanda Londzi and Mbulelo Damba to 18 years in jail, four of them suspended for five years.

In delivering a judgment to a packed courtroom, filled mostly with activists and family members of Nkonyana, Magistrate Raadiyah Wathen said she took into account the fact that the accused were aged just 16 and 17 when they committed the murder but also that none of them had shown remorse to the victim’s family.

“Sentencing involving youths is the most difficult [to do]. The court must take into account several factors [including] the seriousness and nature of the offence and personal circumstances.

“This court takes the sentencing of human life very seriously.”

Activists sang and danced outside the court and cheered when the sentence was announced via loudspeaker.

Activists were particularly satisfied that Wathen took into account the accused’s reasoning for the murder, chiefly that they were intolerant of Nkonyana’s choice to live openly as a lesbian.

Wathen noted that while the accused had a right to not agree with Nkonyana’s lifestyle, it was wrong to resort to violence in showing their disagreement of it.

“Life is about choice. Zoliswa Nkonyana didn’t have the freedom to live out her choice. Violence will not go unpunished.”

The Triangle Project’s Jayne Arnott told News24 that the sentencing was groundbreaking for South Africa’s judiciary.

Arnott said there were four more LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) hate crime cases still to be heard in Western Cape courts. 

Funeka Soldaat, founder of Free Gender said she was “very happy with the sentence” as she thought the four accused would get less than 10 years’ imprisonment.

“Khayelitsha must now stand behind lesbians.”

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  • Freddy - 2012-02-01 14:28

    bravo they should even got 25 years!! Learn to accept other peopels lifestyle and that's it!! Everbody has the right to live he/her live how he was born with! Thank you judge!!! fred

  • procold2 - 2012-02-01 14:29

    18 years eating off the tax payer kill the bastards

      Moi - 2012-02-01 15:15

      Agreed. Murder is murder. At the very least, life imprisonment.

  • Marius Koen - 2012-02-01 14:30

    So 5110 days in jail is the price of a human life. What have the people of our country become?

  • Christopher - 2012-02-01 14:37

    18 years...So they come out when they around 36, bigger, stronger more screwed over by the prison system, been taught by the best criminals, and once more kill again but this time they will get away with it as they have been taught from the best. The future is looking bright!!!

  • fanus.kriel - 2012-02-01 14:45

    Gelukkig het hulle nie renosters vermoor nie anders was dit 25 years !

  • Don - 2012-02-01 15:27

    A YOUTH well maybe by technical definition ?. At 16 or 17 you know very well what you are doing, some very successful business enterpreneurs were that age.. Guess who?. In our modern times with comouter, TV, information and lifestyle you are not a child anymore at 16 or older; and in most cases they know more about technology, sex and crime than someone twice their age. At that age you can make a bomb, blow up anything or even be a soldier... a youth ?. At 16 plus people work, take resposibility even for the lives of others at work, earn a living, even do military service. What should a murderer of 16 or 17 be given a lighter sentence than others ? does life and freedom grant pity when the soldiers of war that blow up people are only 17 ?. Our law has lost track of reality but the criminals have not, that's why they get younger criminals to do their "dirty" work. Lets wake up to reality please. Let the penalty fit the crime. No leniency. If the person is a child of 10 or so one can understand to an extent, but @ 16 to 17 ?? That's not a "youth" its an adult brain. And then still to show no remorse ? That says it all. They don't they have fear or respect for the law. Up will go the violent crime rate and down the age of the "perpetrators".

      Barbara - 2012-02-01 15:48

      agreed - if you can have sex, babies and abortions at 12 years old, you are not a "youth" or child at 16. Any anyway, how many times do we see 16 and 17 year olds trying to smeak into adult shows?

  • Rob - 2012-02-01 15:35

    This is you don't agree with someones lifestyle, kill them! If you actually go to trial the worst is a few years behind bars. I am certain thatr my lifestyle is going to offend somebody, who protects me from them???????????

  • Steven - 2012-02-01 15:42

    How can the activists be happy with the outcome? I would be pissed off when you compare this case to the Donovan Moodley case. The inconsistencies in the SA justice system again become apparent when Moodley (sentenced for the murder of a young white girl) gets a life sentence, yet the four guys convicted of murdering a black lesbian only get 14yrs each. If I read this mathematically, a life sentence is equal to 56 years (14 x 4). Based on this, if 56 people were to commit a murder, each of them would only get 1 year jail each. Why did the four not get life sentences each as well???? We need a consistent sentence for murder. Either life, or bring back the death penalty.

  • Peter - 2012-02-01 15:42

    18 years, of which 4 were suspended - for what ??? Stoned, beaten and kicked to death - that is depraved, and they only get 14 years, and 4 suspended. I say fook them, and fook the judge for being so lenient. Out in less than 7 years, how fooking pathetic. I am disgusted. Oh yeh, killing a Rhino receives 25 years, hellooooo !!!

  • Barbara - 2012-02-01 15:49

    If they showed no remorse in mitigation, why should they get part of the sentence suspended?

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-02-01 16:13

    "none of them had shown remorse"....says it all We need to start doing the Darwin thing or the bad guys are going to be SO over us

  • Mona - 2012-02-01 17:29

    Her death is so sad!

  • Lumko Ntshinka - 2012-02-01 18:34

    We tolerate crooks and criminals who live amongst us but cant tolerate a grown person's choice of lifestyle, may their homophobic asses rot in jail

  • SuzanneGonzalez - 2012-02-01 20:08

    How come 16 year old's are "old" enough to vote, but not old enough to be sentenced like a voter? Sorry but at that age you should be liable for your actions. When are we going to really take a stand against murderers & show everyone that "punishment will be not worth committing the crime?" I say ZERO TOLERANCE is the answer

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