Matwetwe actor’s killer sentenced to life imprisonment

The man who killed Matwetwe actor, Sibusiso Khwinana, was sentenced to life and 23 years direct imprisonment at the Pretoria High Court on Friday.

After several delays in the sentencing, Tanzanian National Julies Lucas(37), was finally sentenced by Judge Portia Phahlane.

KILLER TO BE DEPORTED AFTER SERVING SENTENCE 

This comes after Lucas was convicted of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and being illegal in the country and using fraudulent documents on 3 February 2022.

Judge Phahlane ordered that after serving his sentence, Lucas should be deported back to his country of origin. 

She also ordered that a copy of the judgment should be made available to the National Director of Public Prosecutions, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and the Minister of Home Affairs. 

Lucas was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.  

KILLED FOR A CELLPHONE

On 1 March 2019 Khwinana had gone to watch the premiere of the movie he was the lead actor, Matwetwe, at Sterland Mall in Arcadia.

He was with his friend, Tibatso Mashishi and his lady friend.

“After the movie, while waiting for the e-hailing taxi service outside the mall and taking pictures, Lucas forcefully grabbed the actor’s phone and ran. 

“The actor ran after him and when he caught up with him, they struggled for the phone. During the struggle, Lucas stabbed Khwinana in his chest with a sharp object and fled the scene,” 

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Pretoria Regional Spokesperson, Lumka Mahanjana said.

When Khwinana’s friends finally caught up with him, they found him on the ground bleeding. 

An ambulance was called, however upon its arrival they declared him dead on the scene.  

A post-mortem report revealed, that Khwinana died as a result of a stab wound through the heart.  

KILLER TRIES TO DELAY COURT PROCEEDINGS

Lucas has been in police custody since his arrest on 8 March 2019. 

“During the trial, he pleaded not guilty to all the charges. 

“When sentence proceedings were to start on 28 March 2022 he tried to delay the process by firing his attorney. He said he wanted to appoint a new legal representative and wanted to appeal his conviction,” 

Mahanjana said.

She said the sentencing was postponed to 3 May 2022 to establish if Legal Aid South Africa can provide him with another legal representative. 

However, on the said date Lucas changed his mind and proceeded with the same attorney. 

FAMILY STRUGGLING TO COME TO TERMS WITH SON’S DEATH

In his victim impact statement, Khwinana’s father said the family is not coping with his death, both emotionally and physically. 

In addition, he said he struggles to sleep and that his health and that of his wife have deteriorated.

He further said it is not easy for a father to bury his son especially when he did not die of natural causes, but was killed unnecessarily because of greed.  

“Prosecutor, Advocate Jeffery Nethononda said Lucas was an opportunistic robber. He said this offence should not be mistaken as a robbery gone wrong, but that Lucas had a clear intention to kill Khwinana. 

“He also informed the court that Lucas had two previous convictions of drug possession in 2015 and 2016. Therefore, he asked the court to impose a sentence that will send a message to the community,” 

Mahanjana said.

LUCAS SHOWED NO REMORSE – JUDGE

While delivering her judgment, Judge Phahlane said Lucas had robbed the entertainment industry and South Africa as a whole, of great talent.  

Judge Phahlane added that Lucas was a visitor to South Africa. Therefore as a visitor he needed to abide by the rules of the country, even though he is illegally in the country. 

“The only appropriate sentence for him was imprisonment. He showed no remorse and had no respect and understanding of the importance of taking an oath because he lied several times during his testimony.”

Judge Phahlane.

After sentencing, convicted killer,Lucas, through his attorney, brought an application for leave to appeal his conviction and sentence. 

The state successfully opposed the application stating that Lucas had no prospects of a successful appeal.  

The Judge dismissed both applications. 

Director Public Prosecution Adv Sibongile Mzinyathi is pleased that the matter has been finalised successfully. 

He also thanked the Court Preparation Officer Amokelani Mashela for an outstanding job done. She provided support to the family and witnesses to draw up their Victim Impact Statements and providing counselling sessions. 

Furthermore, he said that he hopes this sentence will send a strong message that violent crimes will not be tolerated and perpetrators will be prosecuted.

ALSO READ: #RIPSbu: Matwetwe actor Sibusiso Khwinana stabbed to death

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