Tempers flare at Donald Sebolai trial as sentencing is postponed

2016-02-11 15:26
Donald Sebolai in court. (Naledi Shange, News24)

Donald Sebolai in court. (Naledi Shange, News24)

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Johannesburg - Tempers flared at the High Court sitting in Palm Ridge on Thursday during the trial of former Jozi FM DJ Donald Sebolai. 

Relatives of Sebolai's slain girlfriend, Dolly Tshabalala, were disappointed and angry as they had expected the court to pass sentence on the convicted murderer today. 

Instead, after hearing from Sebolai's social worker, Siphumelele Mbatha, the matter was postponed to February 18 to allow the defence and prosecution teams to prepare for their sentencing arguments. 

"They should just release him and allow him to go home since it seems like they don't want to put him behind bars," one of Tshabalala's relatives shouted while Judge Cassim Moosa was still on the bench. 

"They are wasting our time. Do they know how much it costs for us to come here every day?" another shouted. 

"Release him," they said. 

The family had filled up the front rows of the court gallery, with some wearing T-shirts depicting Sebolai's late lover. 

She was found lying in a pool of blood at his home in June 2014. She had a single stab wound to the pelvic area. The wound had severed an artery and she bled to death. 

Sebolai was found guilty of her murder, but maintained that he did not kill her. 

He insisted that she stabbed herself as the two of them wrestled over a knife which she had used to stab him in the fingers, after accusing him of cheating. 

The pair had just returned home from a night of drinking when the incident happened. 

Sebolai told the court that Tshabalala was a loving woman, but would become enraged with jealousy, especially when she consumed alcohol. 

A loving father

Meanwhile, Sebolai's case was dealt a blow on Thursday when Mbatha told the court that he lacked remorse. 

The first step to rehabilitation was accepting responsibility and Sebolai had failed to do this, she said. 

She said that Sebolai had failed to acknowledge that he played a role in Tshabalala's death and had instead implied that his only fault was failing to rush her to a hospital, which was just 900m from his house. 

Instead, he cleaned up the blood on the floor and took off. He was arrested after an intensive nine-day manhunt. 

Mbatha told the court that she had consulted with two of the three women who had children with him. 

The women had painted him as a loving father who was proud and supportive of his children. 

They had never suffered abuse at Sebolai's hands. 

One of them said she was "shocked" to hear of Sebolai's arrest because violence was not in his nature. 

Mbatha said it was possible, however, that the women could have been trying to protect him. 

On Wednesday, Sebolai broke down in the dock, stating that he did not know who would fend for his children and those of his late sister. 

But Mbatha, who had been appointed by Sebolai's counsel, said the mothers of Sebolai's children were all employed and could afford to fend for their children. His sister's children could apply for social grants and his parents could also get pension grants. 

She called for the court to not be swayed by Sebolai's circumstances. 

The matter continues next Thursday.

Read more on:    donald sebolai  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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