The High Court of South Africa: The Middelburg High Court, has convicted and sentenced Lefadi Chego (49), to life plus 5 years imprisonment, for the murder of his girlfriend Zama Zithobile Maphisa (35), and defeating the ends of justice. This is after Chego, pleaded guilty to the offence and was subsequently convicted. The accused and the deceased met in Alexander, Gauteng.

Chego told the court through his lawyer, that he was in a love relationship with the deceased since April 2020, and their relationship became sour after the victim fell pregnant and subsequently gave birth to a baby girl.

After the child was born, the deceased became rude to him and his family. She further took an amount of R60000, without his permission and blatantly told him that it was her reward for physical pleasure. On 29 September 2020, he invited the deceased to an outing in Verena, outside Zithabiseni Resort in Mpumalanga, with the hope that they could rekindle their relationship. Upon their arrival, the conversation about money started, where the deceased demanded the accused to pay damages to her family since they have a child out of wedlock.

The conversation became confrontational and ended up stabbing to death the deceased with the knife. When he realized that the deceased was no longer breathing, he abandoned the deceased’s lifeless body in the resort and threw the murder weapon away. He then handed over the deceased’s handbag and a cell phone to her cousin and told them that the deceased is hospitalised in one of the hospitals in Mpumalanga. The deceased’s confessed to the murder, a month later and only the empty skull was found.

In aggravation of sentence, State Adv. Gertrude Nkosi addressed the court about the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide. She said the killing of life partners has become a far too regular occurrence. The deceased did not deserve to die in such a brutal manner, as she had her whole life ahead of her, and she left behind a grieving mother, father and other friends and family, who are still coming to terms with her untimely and senseless death.” A Victim Impact Statement compiled by the Court Preparation Officer Given Mampye was handed in. It showed that the murder of the deceased had a huge impact on his family and friends. Positive DNA was also presented.

Judge Thando Mankge found no substantial and compelling factors which justify the imposition of a lesser sentence than the minimum sentence. She sentenced Chego, to life imprisonment for murder and five years for defeating the ends of justice. The court ordered the sentence of 5 years to run concurrent with life imprisonment, the effective sentence being life.

The Director of Public Prosecutions adv. Nkebe Kanyane lauded the prosecutor and the investigating officer for ensuring that the gender-based violence and femicide perpetrator receives a deserving sentence.

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