The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has welcomed the 25-year jail sentence handed to convicted killer, Alutha Pasile, for the brutal murder of his girlfriend Nosicelo Mtebeni.
The CGE said the speed and efficiency with which the prosecutors and court conducted the trial was a model that should be applied to all cases of gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide in the country.
The Eastern Cape High Court, sitting as a circuit court in East London, on Thursday sentenced Pasile to 25 years behind bars for murder and 10 years for defeating the ends of justice. The sentences will run concurrently.
The 25-year-old’s conviction and sentence came after he pleaded guilty on Monday to defeating the ends of justice and the murder of Mtebeni, 23, who was a student at the University of Fort Hare.
Mtebeni’s murder in August this year sent shock waves around the country after her body parts were found in a suitcase in East London.
Pasile told the high court he killed her in a jealous rage and dismembered her body parts into a suitcase on the corner of Fitzpatrick Street and Fleet Street in the Quigney area of East London.
However, Mtebeni’s family said they were not happy with the prison sentence handed down. They also criticised the fact that Pasile may only have to serve 14 years before qualifying for parole and being released back into society.
Call to speed up all GBV cases
The CGE’s chairperson Tamara Mathebula said while they welcomed the sentence against Pasile, they called on the criminal justice system to speed up all GBV and femicide related cases that have stalled in the system.
“South Africa is experiencing unprecedented levels of violence against women and girls, and this calls for the aggressive and speedy resolution of police investigations and court cases,” Mathebula said.
She said the South African government had committed to the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations (UN) and one of which was to end gender-based violence by 2030.
Mathebula said it was concerning that with just less than 10 years left before 2030, the scourge of GBV in the country was escalating and SA would likely miss this SDG target.
“And that will be a poor reflection of the country’s efforts in the fight against violence on women. That would render the country’s commemoration of Women’s Month and 16 Days of Activism as useless.”
The commission also called for the courts to move with the same efficiency and speed in the rape case against televangelist Timothy Omotoso in the Port Elizabeth High Court.
Omotoso and his co-accused – Lusanda Sulani and Zukiswa Sitho – face 97 charges including rape, human trafficking and racketeering for allegedly targeting and recruiting young girls for sexual exploitation.
It is alleged that the girls were moved from their homes to two mission houses in KwaZulu-Natal, where they were allegedly made to engage in sexual acts with Omotoso.
The pastor has been in jail since 20 April 2017 while Sulani and Sitho are currently out on bail.
Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe