Husband Convicted For Wife’s Premeditated Murder
In a third gender-based violence and femicide case in two days, the High Court of South Africa: Western Cape Division convicted Babsy Ntamehlo, for the murder of his estranged wife over a dispute over an RDP house. Earlier, Ntamehlo threatened to strangle his wife, Nosicelo Tsipa, kill her and burn her body in the early hours. He told his friend Nyameko Sixhozi, “I wish to strangle this to death around the early hours of the morning and burn her body next to the river close to us, my brother. I have had enough.” A few days later, Tsipa’s body was found strangled, partially burnt, and buried in a shallow grave in Fisantekraal, near Durbanville.
The couple married in 2008, but things changed around 2016 after Ntamehlo received a government RDP house. His wife received her RDP house in Atlantis before him, but they agreed that they cannot move to the area as it was far from her husband’s workplace. Besides, Ntamehlo had applied for his government-supplied property in Fisantekraal. At the time they were staying in an informal settlement in the area. Ntamehlo’s RDP house came up and the accused, his wife, their son Lilitha and the wife’s brother, Lukho, moved in. The wife’s brother moved to the Western Cape from the Eastern Cape as part of an intervention to stop Tsipa’s abuse at the hands of her husband. The couple decided to sell Tsipa’s house in Atlantis to build a homestead in the rural areas in the Eastern, close to her husband’s parental home. Some of the money from the sale of the property would assist in the property in Fisantekraal.
During the trial State Adv. Megan September told the court that tensions increased between the couple after the accused made it clear, that he no longer wanted the deceased as his wife and wanted to chase her out of the property. The deceased had recordings, voice messages and WhatsApp messages, where the accused threatened to kill her. In one of the messages, he told her that ‘most people go missing and do not get to be buried by their relatives.’ Fortunately, the deceased shared these messages with her brother and friends.
Judge Daniel Thulare convicted the accused of the premeditated murder of his wife. “I am unable to trace an iota of evidence which is consistent with the innocence of the accused. The accused decided in advance and arranged in advance what he would do to Nosicelo. Judge Thulare had harsh in the way the protection orders applied for by the deceased were handled. “Where there was an existing protection order in her favour, and she approached the Bellville Magistrates Court again to complain against the abuse, the answer was not the simple issue of another protection order. The true and appropriate answer was to hold the accused to account for the breach of the terms of the existing protection order. The law did not envisage the issue of a multiplicity of protection orders to a victim, but the issue of protection, and if breached, accountability and consequences.
“I do not understand the law to provide for judicial officers to contribute to a handbag, a drawer or kist full protection orders. It seems to me that the failure of the legal system contributed, through failure to adequately provide the equal benefit of and protection by the law to Nosicelo, to provide a fertile environment for her abuse which graduated to her killing,” he said.
The case has been postponed to 22 November 2022, for sentencing procedures.
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