The High Court of South Africa: Middelburg High Court has convicted and sentenced Steven Mahlangu (31), from Siyabuswa in the district of Mdutjana to life plus 53 years direct imprisonment, for housebreaking with intent to commit a crime, three counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and arson. Mahlangu was in a romantic relationship with the deceased, Hope Makola, who was residing in Siyabuswa with the other occupants in the same house, where the incident happened.

On 22 December 2020, the accused was drinking alcohol with his girlfriend Makola, she was approached by a man who proposed love. The accused got upset, they parted ways. He came back, armed with a knife, and followed the victim to her home. Upon his arrival, he broke into the house, and stabbed to death three people, namely his girlfriend Hope Makola, and her uncle (Joseph Maputu) including an eight-year-old minor victim, while an eleven-year-old survived the stabbing incident with serious injuries. He then set the house on fire and fled the scene. The matter was reported to the police.

He pleaded guilty to a lesser sentence and the state rejected his plea. State Adv. Frieda Tshwane led evidence of the accused’s friend, which proved that Mahlangu stole his knife to kill the deceased. Post -mortem reports revealed that the three victims died due to penetrating incised wounds through the chest. A photo album of a crime scene was also presented. Victim Impact Statements compiled by Court Preparation Officer Given Mampye were presented. It revealed that the victims’ families suffered emotional and psychological trauma, because of the incident.

Addressing the court to impose an appropriate sentence Adv. Tshwane told the court that this case is a perfect example of violent crimes perpetrated against women and children. She said, the accused did not respect the life and bodily integrity of other human beings, as the deceased died the most gruesome death at his hands.

Judge Thando Mankge remarked that Mahlangu did not want the deceased to survive this attack, the viciousness of the attack and the assault is an extremely aggravating factor. The knife the accused used left oval shapes on the body of the deceased person. She sentenced Mahlangu to life imprisonment for the murder of his girlfriend, 20 years for the murder of the minor, 15 years for another count of murder, 5 years for housebreaking, 8 years for attempted murder, and 5 years imprisonment for arson.

The Director of Public Prosecutions in Mpumalanga Adv. Nkebe Kanyane lauded the prosecutor and investigating officer for a job well done. She said the NPA will continue to fight the scourge of gender-based violence in ensuring that the citizens of this country are safe.

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