Durban – The Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court found that 25-year-old Zwakele Mgobhozi is guilty of the murder of his girlfriend.
Mgobhozi was on trial for the murder of Precious Pinky Yeni, 36, who is also the mother of his child.
He was handed 15 years imprisonment on Wednesday and deemed unfit to carry a firearm by the court.
He is alleged to have stabbed and slit her throat after she had refused to have sex with him on a Sunday morning in 2021.
This happened outside her family home in Amaoti, the couple lived in the garage of the home they shared with Precious’s family.
Her sister, Promise Zinhle Yeni, witnessed her sister’s killing.
Magistrate Ravi Pillay said that the court had been satisfied that the evidence of the State’s single witness in the murder was credible.
"The court found her to be truthful and her evidence was consistent with wounds sustained by the deceased."
Mgobhozi's version was that he had found Precious outside when he awoke sitting on an unknown man's lap and he got into a fight with the man who drew out a knife.
He told the court Precious got stabbed during the altercation and he was the one who called Promise to tell her that Precious had been stabbed.
The court had heard how the night before the murder the couple had been consuming alcohol together and later Mgobhozi allegedly forced Precious to have sex.
The couple got into an argument when Mgobhozi was demanding more sex after they had had four rounds forcefully in the morning.
He allegedly first hit Precious with an iron garden rake and she ran outside, he chased after her and caught her outside where he drew a knife.
He stabbed her on her upper body, and she fell to the ground, he then came from behind her pulled her chin up, and slit her throat.
Pillay said Mgobhozi's version was improbable and said that he had also not presented the court with any evidence to support his version.
In sentencing, he said that there had been no substantial and compelling circumstances presented by Mgobhozi's defence for the court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years.
Pillay said while the law provided that the court could add five years onto the minimum prescribed sentence he would not be doing so.
"For the sake of the child, I will not add it, there's a child in the picture and he will ask questions one day and someone needs to answer."
Highlighting the seriousness and prevalence of gender-based violence, Pillay said the courts had to send a strong message that it will not be tolerated.
"Whatever affection and love he had for her vanished on that day he acted in that manner. She had stuck by him, taken him into her home," said Pillay who described the manner of the murder as careless.
In aggravation of sentence, State Prosecutor Kaystree Ramsamujh said femicide was a serious crime that was prevalent not just in the Ntuzuma court jurisdiction but in the country.
"The two were together for four years, they had a child together. One would have expected the accused to protect and nurture the deceased but he killed her … I ask the court to take the post-mortem report into consideration, she didn't just have one injury, she had seven," she said.
In mitigation of sentence, Mgobhozi's defence counsel B W Dlamini had pleaded with the court to consider suspending a portion of the sentence that would be handed down to his client.
"Taking into consideration his youthfulness and that he is a first-time offender, the accused is a good candidate for rehabilitation. He has been in custody since 22 January 2022, I ask that the court considers this."
Outside court Precious's mother Phyllis Mdakane said she yearned for Mgobhozi to feel the same pain she had felt.
"He deserves to also have his throat slit, to go through what my daughter went through. Every time I have had to see him in court I've just wanted to get my hands on him. My daughter has left behind seven children, they are starting to trouble me. All this is because of him.“
Promise said the family was worried about her sister's children, that the others would harbour ill feelings or even hate towards Mgobhozi's child.
"The children since my sister's passing have been fighting, and I worry that one day they will turn on the other one because it was his father's fault that they no longer had a mother".