A Hartswater man, Elvis Malebo, faces a life sentence for brutally stabbing his former girlfriend to death.
A HARTSWATER man, who killed his former girlfriend by stabbing her 34 times, will find out in the Northern Cape High Court on Thursday whether he will be imprisoned for life.
Acting Judge LM Mofokeng found Elvis Malebo guilty of murdering Botshelo Evelyn Mochumi at the Aasgat shanties in Hartswater on June 14 this year.
According to Malebo’s plea explanation, which was read into the record by his legal representative, Heinrich Steynberg, he stabbed Mochumi in a rage after finding her naked with another man.
In the plea, Malebo stated that after the discovery he went to his shanty and fetched a panga and a knife. Upon arriving at Mochumi’s shanty, he then stabbed her several times. She tried to flee from him and he stabbed her until she fell to the ground in the yard of her shanty.
Malebo said that he had “acted out of character” and was angry because he had seen Mochumi naked with another man.
Steynberg, during aggravating and mitigating arguments, told the court on Tuesday that although the matter was serious, there needed to be a distinction between the seriousness of the incident and whether it was planned.
“There is a difference in the seriousness in these types of offences. When looking at this case, it is clear that the accused was a person who was angered by what he saw. He did not have a knife on him at the time he saw the deceased with another man. The accused had to look for a knife after what he had witnessed. The defence is not stating that the offence is not serious, however, there is a difference in the seriousness,” said Steynberg.
“It is not in the character of the accused to carry a knife or to stab a person, in fact he stated in his plea explanation that he acted out of character.”
Steynberg said that the 34 stab wounds inflicted on the deceased were not all fatal.
“Only two of the 34 stab wounds penetrated the chest cavity of the deceased and one penetrated the lung of the deceased. The rest of the stabbings were not deep,” he said.
Steynberg, during his closing remarks, asked the court to take all the circumstances into consideration and not just the fact that the matter is regarded as “gruesome” and that the public may regard it as another case of femicide.
“The unfortunate part of all murders is that someone is robbed of a loved one. Whether someone is stabbed once or 34 times, the children of a deceased will still suffer. However, the court has to consider that it is not the crime that is being punished, but the person who is up for punishment. Human beings are not commodities to which a price can be attached.”
Steynberg added that the Malebo’s personal circumstances show that he is a good candidate for rehabilitation.
“The accused is only 26 years old, has completed his matric and does not have any previous convictions. He has up to this point not had any run-ins with the law. He was working as a blockman at a local butchery. He has two children whom he had been maintaining financially. He had also been maintaining his father, who suffered a stroke, financially.”
He pointed out that Malebo had never denied his actions and had pleaded guilty to the crime.
“The accused was arrested on June 24, 2020. He has been in custody since his arrest awaiting the finalisation of his trial. The accused also pleaded to the crime and did not waste the court’s time. He has the attributes of a person who can be rehabilitated and he gave the first step towards rehabilitation when he admitted to the crime.”
Steynberg said that a sentence of life imprisonment would be “grossly inappropriate”.
“A life sentence would be harsh as the accused acted out of character in this instance. A life sentence leaves no room for rehabilitation as the person would spend the rest of his life behind bars. This was a spur-of-the-moment crime and a sentence of 20 years will be suitable,” Steynberg argued.
The State, represented by advocate Simon Matsoso, said that Malebo had committed the crime at a time when the entire country was plagued by the scourge of gender-based violence.
“The accused did not value the life of the deceased. He took advantage of a vulnerable woman. The accused has taken the right to life of the deceased,” said Matsoso.
He said that should the court deviate from a sentence of life imprisonment, it should still impose a hefty sentence on the accused. “If the court does not impose a life sentence then a sentence of 25 years should be appropriate,” he said.
The matter was postponed for sentencing and Malebo remains in custody.