REPORTER: TSHEPO C MOLOTO: The High Court of South Africa: The Mpumalanga Division of the High Court has today convicted and sentenced Hlabirwa Rassie Nkune (37),  to two life terms after he was found guilty on two counts of premeditated murder of two siblings. The accused was in a love relationship with Pretty Mazibuko (46), and the other victim was a police officer, Sergeant Marcia Mazibuko(41).

Nkune was charged with two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder, however, the state withdrew attempted murder charges against him. On 15 May 2022, the accused went to Mazibuko’s homestead in KaNyamazane, and an altercation about infidelity ensued. The accused left the house and came back later, armed with a firearm. He started shooting at his girlfriend Pretty, who ran to the accused’s vehicle and attempted to reverse out of the yard. The car got stuck in a hip of soil and Nkune, followed her and continued shooting.

Then a vehicle with two occupants passed by and offered help, and Nkune started shooting at them, but they escaped unharmed. The accused returned to the house, where the shooting of Pretty began. He then chased Marcia and shot her, the victims succumbed to gunshot wounds on the way to the local clinic. The accused fled the scene and was arrested in August 2022 for the murder case which happened in Sundra, Mpumalanga. In court the accused pleaded guilty to two counts of murder however the state rejected his plea on another count since his plea was not consistent with the facts of the case at the state’s disposal. This led to the state led the evidence of an eyewitness. The court found the state witness credible, and the accused was convicted on two counts of premeditated murder.

During the aggravation of the sentence Advocate Zwelethu Mata, presented a victim impact statement compiled by court preparation officer Nomfundo Mokoena. In that statement, the mother of the two deceased indicated that she feels hatred for the person who killed her children and is normally scared, anxious, and pained whenever she is in court.

In sentencing, the accused Judge Takalani Vincent Ratshibvumo, pronounced that the word must go out to the entire Mbombela community that the court will not tolerate or treat with soft gloves the perpetrators of crimes against women in our society. Accordingly, the Judge sentenced Nkune to two life terms of imprisonment and declared him unfit to possess a firearm.

The National Prosecuting Authority welcomes the sentence and applauds the good work done by the prosecution and the police in ensuring that justice has been served.

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