Judge jails 'cruel and ruthless' man for life for murder, rape of TVET student Precious Ramabulana

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Aubrey Manaka has been convicted for the murder of Capricorn TVET college Ramokgopha campus Precious Ramabulana. Photo by Joshua Sebola Photo by
Aubrey Manaka has been convicted for the murder of Capricorn TVET college Ramokgopha campus Precious Ramabulana. Photo by Joshua Sebola Photo by
  • The Limpopo High Court in Polokwane has sentenced the man who admitted to raping and killing student Precious Ramabulana.
  • Earlier this week, Aubrey Manaka admitted to the crimes when he pleaded guilty.
  • Ramabulana's relatives have welcomed the sentence, saying they hope he isn't released from jail early.

The 29-year-old man who pleaded guilty to the murder and rape of TVET student Precious Ramabulana was sentenced to two life terms in jail on Friday.

Three of the charges - housebreaking with intent to commit a crime (eight years), rape (life) and robbery with aggravating circumstances (15 years) - are to run concurrently with the sentence of life imprisonment for murder.

Aubrey Manaka pleaded guilty to all the charges in the Limpopo High Court in Polokwane on Wednesday. He asked for leniency and forgiveness.

In passing sentence on Friday, Judge Francis Kganyago described the Manaka as "a person with no soul, [who was] cruel and ruthless".

"The accused has been convicted [of] a serious crime in which a young life was taken. The crime was barbaric to the extent that the [prosecutor] was hysterical and the court had to adjourn," Kganyago added.

READ | 'I'm usually a bold person' - prosecutor explains why he broke down in Precious Ramabulana case

Ramabulana, who was 21 years old when she was killed in November 2019, was found in a pool of blood in her rented room in Ga-Joel section, Botlokwa, about 40km outside Polokwane. There were 90 incised stab wounds, lacerations and abrasions to her body.

In evidence in mitigation of his sentence, Manaka admitted stabbing her several times and said he raped her while she was bleeding. After the act, he stabbed her again several times to ensure that she wouldn't live to tell the tale.

He said he developed feelings for Ramabulana, but did not have the courage to confess his love of her in a proper manner.

Commenting on this, the judge said: "This court is wondering what kind of person he is who say he loves someone, but persists to stab her in the manner that he did."

"He murdered and raped a young woman in the peaceful tranquillity of her room, and her family was expecting that she will take them out of poverty when she completes her studies.

"The accused did not show any respect to the deceased," the judge said.

He added that Manaka only pleaded to the crimes when he realised that the evidence against him was overwhelming.

He took into account that the crimes attracted media attention from the beginning and sparked anger from the public.

READ | Precious Ramabulana was stabbed 90 times, court hears

However, he said the court would not be driven by anger, but would "impose [a] sentence that will fit the crime."

He found that the aggravating factors far outweighed the mitigating circumstances.

Ramabulana's aunt, Mavis Sethlodimela, told the media that Ramabulana's mother was in hospital because she was unable to cope after the murder.

"From Monday [when the trial started] to [Friday], I feel tired. I'm thankful [for] the sentence.

"We just don't know whether he will have an early release," Sethlodimela added.

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