Life sentence for killing pregnant girlfriend, Northern Cape Division, Upington

Life sentence for killing pregnant girlfriend, Northern Cape Division, Upington 

The High Court of South Africa, Northern Cape Division, sitting in Upington has sentenced Thys Mondzinger (44) to life imprisonment after he was convicted of the murder of his pregnant girlfriend, Petunia Rooi (34). The accused was also charged with the contravention of the protection order which was in effect at the time of the incident, although the contravention was in respect of an incident a year before the deceased’s death. On 04 May 2022, in Kenhardt near Upington in the Northern Cape, the accused and the deceased who were in a relationship, had attended court and the accused wanted the girlfriend to withdraw the case against him. During their appearance in court, and due to the seriousness of the matter, the state prosecutor refused to do so and they left the court. The accused later encountered the deceased, while she was walking with her ex-boyfriend. He then took out a knife and stabbed her all over her body.

This incident occurred in full view of nine witnesses, and one of the eyewitnesses who knew the deceased’s daughter went to inform her about the incident. The daughter and the witness returned to the scene, but the accused and the deceased were no longer there. They reported the incident to the police, who immediately went to look for the deceased, but could not find her or the accused anywhere. It turned out that the accused left deceased’s body where she died and pointed out where he left the body to the police the following day. He was then arrested and charged with two counts of murdering Petunia Rooi and her unborn child (34 weeks) whom she was carrying at the time of her death. During his appearance in court, the accused did not apply for bail, and he was remanded in custody. The accused also pleaded not guilty to all counts and the matter went to trial.

During trial, the court heard that the pregnant victim had been stabbed approximately 28 times and that the deceased had died as a result of blood loss from a stab wound to her neck. Through the Victim Impact Statement, prepared with the assistance of the Court Preparation Officer, Ashley Groenewald, the victim’s 18-year-old daughter who is a matriculant this year, testified about the impact her mother’s passing had on her and her four siblings. The Upington Court Preparation officer also rendered invaluable assistance as she assisted with the preparation of all the state witnesses, one of whom was quite elderly.

In aggravation of sentence, the State Advocate, Mary-Ann Engelbrecht argued that the court should not deviate from the maximum sentence for such an offence and that the accused should be sentenced to life imprisonment. The Advocate also contended that the accused had shown no remorse as he had pleaded not guilty to all the charges, even though there were witnesses who had testified about his actions. She argued further that femicide had become rampant within the communities and a clear message should be sent to all perpetrators of Gender-Based Violence and Femicides (GBVF) that they will be sentenced to the maximum sentence of life imprisonment for any GBVF-related matters.  

In sentencing, the accused was acquitted in respect of the murder of the unborn child, as the law as it currently stands, does not allow for murder in respect of a child not born alive. He was also acquitted of the contravention of the protection order. He was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment. After sentencing, Advocate Mary-Ann Engelbrecht said that this sentence imposed by the high court was a clear demonstration that the courts are truly doing their part in the fight against femicides as it had imposed a sentence that adequately punishes the offender. She firmly believes that this sentence would also deter would-be offenders. It once again shows that minimum sentence legislation is a vital tool to ensure that these types of sentences will continue to be imposed, she added.

The National Prosecuting Authority applauds the work of the prosecution team in ensuring that another perpetrator of Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) is adequately sentenced to life imprisonment.


Kind regards,


Mojalefa Senokoatsane

NPA Regional Spokesperson

Northern Cape Division

073 423 3539

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