The Mpumalanga High Court sitting in Middelburg sentenced Siyabonga Mbatha to 25 years imprisonment for the murder of actress, Thandeka Emigrant Mdeliswa.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority, Mbatha pleaded guilty to the offenses and was subsequently convicted of murder, possession of an unlicensed firearm, and unlawful possession of ammunition.
In his plea statement, Mbatha told the court that on September 3, 2020, he and his friend Ndabandaba went to collect a cellphone from the deceased’s brother in Evander. Upon arrival, an argument over money that was allegedly taken by the deceased ‘s brother ensued. The deceased, Thandeka Mdeliswa heard the commotion and came out of her vehicle. Mbatha took Ndabandaba’s firearm and shot Mdeliswa in the neck and fled the scene. She was rushed to the hospital. She then succumbed to her injuries after two days.
Mbatha was arrested a few days later together with his two accused, however, charges against them were withdrawn as they could not be linked to the crime.
The deceased’s mother testified in aggravation of sentence. She described the traumatic consequences the murder of her daughter had on her life. She said, she has developed some diseases including ulcers due to stress since the incident occurred.
The senior state advocate, Bakedi Maoke told the court about the prevalence of gender-based violence in the country. She said the court must impose sentences that would reflect the community’s anger towards these types of crimes. She added that Mbatha robbed a child of her mother at a young age.
The court sentenced Mbatha to 25 years for murder, 15 years for possession of an unlicensed firearm, and three years for unlawful possession of ammunition. The judge, Bruce Langa ordered that the 10-year imprisonment in respect of the sentence on count two and three years imprisonment in respect of count three to run concurrently with the 25-year sentence. Mbatha was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.