The family of the deceased, however, were not happy with the sentences handed down.
THE FAMILY of Gershwin Swartz indicated yesterday that they were unhappy with the sentences handed down by the Northern Cape High Court to the three men convicted of his murder.
Twenty-four-year-old Swartz died after he was attacked, kidnapped and later killed by men who found him sleeping inside his VW Polo, which was parked behind the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court, on July 12, 2016. His body was found next to the R31 road just outside Kimberley on July 14, 2016 after his car was discovered at a house in New Park.
The family of the deceased wept yesterday as sentencing procedures got under way in the Northern Cape High Court, during which they heard about the number of wounds inflicted on Swartz.
Three men, Shaun Carelse, Mamogelo Mcumi and Boitumelo Matlhola, were convicted of the crime after a co-accused, Naledi Kgadiete, turned State witness and conveyed the gruesome details of how the incident unfolded.
Carelse and Mcumi were yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Swartz, while Matlhola received a 23-year sentence for his role in the murder. The family of the deceased, however, were not happy with the sentences handed down.
Swartz’s mother, Mary Swartz, wept after the court proceedings.
“We are not happy with the sentences,” she said. “My child was killed in a gruesome manner and he will never come back to me. The youngest accused (Matlhola) was smiling when he heard he would be receiving 23 years. This is heartbreaking. They must go and read Leviticus 24 verse 18 and then they will understand,” she said as tears streamed down her face.
The rest of the family indicated that they should have taken matters into their own hands.
“In actual fact, justice has not prevailed here. Taxpayers will end up paying for these men to lead cushy lives in jail. We should have dealt with them ourselves, but it is what it is.”
Acting Judge Nomfuneko Mbalo pointed out during her sentencing that Swartz’s death had lasting effects on his family.
“The death of the deceased left his family and friends financially, emotionally and psychologically scarred. The father of the deceased has now become a person who does not want to go out in public any more. The father probably has questions about the trauma his son suffered.
“The mother of the deceased emerges as the most affected person by her son’s death. She had pre-existing asthma and high blood pressure. Her condition has escalated after the death of her child.
“The sisters of the deceased also had their fair share of trauma as one, who is a teacher, had to quit her job because one of the pupils in her class was also named Gershwin. This child’s name was a constant, unwelcome reminder of the death of her brother. The younger sister has a phobia of people following her and is also not going out any more. The deceased is a father to a child who never got the opportunity to meet his father,” she said.
Mbalo added that it was clear that Swartz was a great support to his family and an inspiration to his community.
“The deceased was employed at Kumba Mine at the time of his death. He was a strong financial support to his family and he bought his father a brand new car. Friends and family described him as someone who was inspirational and had great dreams.
“He encouraged the youth in his community not to give up on their lives. The death of the deceased left a gaping wound to the family and community. All these factors call for the punishment of the accused.”