South Africa, Pretoria – A judge sentenced a man to life for stabbing his girlfriend to death on a bus, said it was high time that men stood up against this evil.
The judge, sitting in the High Court in Middelburg, said the campaign was simply not enough, and that people should work throughout the year to eradicate this type of violence, which was so prevalent in the country.
Titus Mtitos Thabo, 28, stabbed his girlfriend, Portia Phindile Mahlangu, on a bus in front of several commuters.
The couple were not married but have two children together. On January 16 this year, Mahlangu was on a bus with Thabo when an argument broke out. Thabo took out a knife and stabbed Mahlangu several times on her neck. The bus driver tried in vain to stop Thabo after stopping the bus.
The court heard how Thabo dragged Mahlangu out of the bus and continued stabbing her. Mahlangu later succumbed to her injuries, and Thabo fled the scene on foot.
Monica Nyuswa, the regional spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, said Thabo pleaded not guilty and claimed self-defence. According to him, Mahlangu had attacked him.
State advocate Bakedi Maoke led the evidence of two passengers as well as that of the bus driver.
They described to the court how they saw Thabo stabbing Mahlangu. Their evidence was confirmed by the district surgeon who performed the post-mortem on Mahlangu, finding that she had suffered several severe stab wounds.
Mahlangu’s mother testified that the incident had completely changed her life. The incident had caused the family to incur financial expenses they had not planned for, she said. This, as the family, have had to assume the role of primary care-givers to Mahlangu’s two minor children.
Prosecutor Maoke referred the court to the photo album that showed the gruesome manner in which the murder was carried out. She further argued that Thabo did not take the court into his confidence about the true reasons for his actions.
She emphasised that Thabo had robbed the two minor children of their role model, which would have a lasting impact on the children.
The prosecution asked the court not to find any mitigating factors and to impose a sentence of life imprisonment.
Maoke submitted that as a result of Thabo’s abusive conduct, Mahlangu had applied for a protection order against him in 2016.
The judge, in imposing sentence, said Thabo had interfered with the most precious gift of life by stabbing Mahlangu in full view of passengers in the bus.
“My view is that men are required to also stand up and fight against their evil-minded peers …
“Women must be protected and men who behave like the accused must be shown the way and be sensitised,” the judge said.
The Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Matric Luphondo, has welcomed the conviction and sentence.
“It clearly demonstrates our commitment as the NPA to fight for justice against the growing scourge of gender-based violence in society,” he said.