The High Court of South Africa, Eastern Cape Division, Gqeberha, sentenced Luxolo Bandla (31), to life imprisonment after convicting him of the murder of his live-in girlfriend during a domestic violence incident at their home in Airport Valley, Walmer, in Gqeberha. They further sentenced him to 18 months imprisonment, for assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and ordered the sentences to run concurrently with the life sentence.

The couple was staying in a backroom, rented by the deceased, Ntomboxolo Mkhosana, from where their landlady heard screams on the night of 19 June 2022. When she went to investigate, she found Bandla assaulting the deceased with a padlock, but he stopped. A few minutes after the landlady left, she heard the voice of the deceased shouting; “You are stabbing me Luxolo”, and she went back and found Bandla standing on top of the bleeding deceased, holding a knife handle. An ambulance was called, and the deceased was declared dead on the scene, Bandla was subsequently arrested.

The state successfully opposed his release on bail, and during the trial, he pleaded not guilty claiming that they had scuffled after the deceased had attacked him. However, under cross-examination by State Advocate Sivuyile McKay, he could not explain how the knife handle ended on his hand and could not sustain how he was defending himself. Doctor Annemarie Matheus, who conducted the postmortem, also disproved Bandla’s version, stating that the position of the injuries sustained by the deceased was inconsistent with his explanation. Prosecutor McKay argued that the murders of women by their intimate partners were of pandemic proportions in the country to the extent that the legislation had to be amended to ensure that the sentences were more punitive, so the courts must impose such sentences, and the court agreed.

Eastern Cape Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Barry Madolo, commended the prosecutor for invoking the Criminal and Related Matters Act 12 of 2021, relating to the imposition of the minimum sentence of life imprisonment. He further applauded the investigating officer and the key state witness, the landlady, whose actions he described as that of a model citizen.

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