A 26-YEAR-old man was jailed for 12 years by the regional court yesterday after admitting he bashed a drunk man to death with a spade during an altercation.
Regional magistrate Rose Mogwera told Siyabonga Mhlongo he was a dangerous person who had to be removed from society. His actions were brutal and unnecessary.
Mogwera said the victim, Zamukwanda Matshabele, had been drunk and it a drunk person could be expected to misbehave.
“If someone slaps you with an open hand it does not give you the right to arm yourself with a dangerous weapon and crush him to death,” she said.
However, she took into account in his favour that Mhlongo was a first offender and had shown remorse by pleading guilty and that the victim had been the initial aggressor.
She told Mhlongo that he should remember that the court had shown him mercy by not imposing the minimum prescribed sentence of 15 years imprisonment for unpremeditated murder and would “not be so brutal”.
Mhlongo said in his statement he had been chatting to his girlfriend at her home in France township in the early hours of April 4 when Matshabele knocked at the door.
He was “obviously intoxicated” and walked to a bed where his girlfriend’s friend lay sleeping.
Matshabele then pulled the blankets off her and pulled her out of bed.
“I inquired from him what his problem was and why he was behaving in this fashion.
“He then came directly to me and slapped me on my face.
“We began … fighting with one another.
“I overpowered him and he fell to the ground.”
Mhlongo said he continued to punch and kick the victim on the ground and then noticed a spade in the room.
He used it to assault Matshabele.
“I struck him several times on his head as well as the rest of his body with this spade,” Mhlongo said.
When the victim was no longer moving, he added, he went home.
Mhlongo later heard Matshabele had died. He was arrested four days later.