South African Man Receives Life Imprisonment for Murdering Girlfriend

In a verdict handed down by the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court in Mbombela, South Africa, a 45-year-old man named Themba Stsompana Mahlangu has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the premeditated murder of his girlfriend, Tumelo Maria Mamogale.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Regional spokesperson, DPP Mpumalanga, Monica Nyuswa, issued a statement on Monday, October 16, 2023, revealing that Mahlangu and the victim resided together in Mashishing, within the Thaba Chweu district.

On the early morning of October 4, 2022, the victim’s neighbors heard her screams and rushed to her aid. They discovered Mahlangu assaulting her, using his fists and forcibly striking her against a neighbor’s gate.

Despite the neighbors’ attempts to intervene, Mahlangu initially feigned compliance and backed off. However, once they returned to their homes, he continued the assault and eventually stabbed the victim with a broken bottle.

Tragically, the victim became unresponsive, and Mahlangu fled the scene, leaving her fighting for her life. She later succumbed to her injuries and passed away.

Mahlangu was apprehended on the same day but pleaded not guilty to the charges. He claimed that on the day of the incident, they were attacked by an unknown group of four males.

In the courtroom, State Advocate Antoinette Nkosi presented testimonies from three neighbors who had witnessed the crime, along with statements from an investigating officer and a postmortem report that confirmed the victim’s cause of death as a sharp force injury to the neck.

In the sentencing phase, Advocate Antoinette Nkosi submitted a victim impact statement, which had been compiled by the victim’s mother with the assistance of Court Preparation Officer Zodwa Lekhuleni. The statement highlighted the mother’s profound anguish, as she now had to care for her deceased daughter’s minor children, who were left wondering why their mother had died.

Before pronouncing the sentence, acting Judge Sheila Msibi acknowledged the high levels of violent crimes, particularly gender-based violence within domestic relationships in the country. The court concluded that there were no compelling reasons to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence and, therefore, sentenced the accused to life imprisonment. Additionally, the court declared the accused unfit to possess a firearm.

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