A South African man, Mpho Thobane, who was convicted of killing his girlfriend Viwe Dalingozi in 2018, was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
The court deviated from the prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years. Thobane set Dalingozi alight in their apartment before fleeing to Limpopo.
The court described him as a “coward” and a “cold-blooded killer”. Magistrate Hambokazi Twele was scathing in her sentencing ruling.
“You are not only a cold-blooded killer, but indeed you are also a coward. You had direct intentions of killing her. She looked to you for protecting her, but you poured petrol on her, and set her alight in her own private space.
“What is aggravating is that the accused was her lover, but failed to protect her. The cruel and painful part about the death of the deceased at the hands of her lover is that she was killed at a place she thought she was safe.
“After her house was set alight, you failed to rescue, secure and assist her. The callous and heartless attitude by not checking her condition and running away to Limpopo was a clear proof of a lack of remorse,” said Twele.
Previous criminal record
Thobane, who has a previous record for assault, arrived in Johannesburg in 2018. He worked as a hawker when he met Dalingozi and they started a relationship.
Twele said: “The accused didn’t show any remorse. The deceased was killed by her own lover at her own place of residence. The family of the deceased have been deprived of the love, friendship and companionship of the deceased. Nothing that I can say or do today will comfort them from the tragic loss they have suffered.
“This is clearly a case of gender-based violence. The community deserves to live in a better world than this. I am convinced that members of a community are entitled to expect the court to protect their rights by imposing an appropriate sentence.”
The magistrate noted that “hardly a day passes without a report on the media about a woman or child being raped or killed in this country”.
“The accused denied how the deceased died. The family has been left with sad memories of how she was killed and images of her charred body lying on a stretcher.
“The mother of the deceased has been severely affected by the death of her child. She has suffered depression and was once admitted to Mthatha Hospital. This has also affected her work performance,” Twele added.