By Ingrid Oellermann:
In a case of swift justice, a man who admitted he raped and stabbed a woman to death in the city centre after she changed her mind about going home with him was jailed for 20 years on Thursday.
Dumisani Ngubane (26) pleaded guilty before regional magistrate Mishi Singh on Thursday to the rape and murder of Lungile Happy Manyoni (33) on July 19.
He told the court in a statement read by his legal aid lawyer V.M. Khumalo that he met the victim for the first time that day in Church Street and they had “walked and talked together”.
He said she accompanied him to a tavern for a “few drinks” and afterwards agreed to go home with him. However, on the way she changed her mind and refused to go with him. Angered by her refusal, he had grabbed her by force and flung her to the ground and raped her.
“She was aggressive and resisting me while I had forceful sexual intercourse with her and this angered me more. I then took out an Okapi knife and I stabbed her,” he said.
Ngubane said during his attack he heard someone shouting his name and realised that he could be recognised. He fled the scene but did not go far and hid near a railway line. He was arrested a few minutes later by police.
Ngubane said even though he had acted in a “fit of rage” and had drunk some alcohol he knew that what he was doing was wrong.
In terms of minimum sentencing laws, Ngubane faced a prescribed sentence of life imprisonment for the rape because it involved violence and led to the subsequent murder of the victim.
Passing sentence on him, Singh said she took into account in his favour that he pleaded guilty, expressed remorse and was a first offender. However, a life had been lost.
Singh said regional prosecutor Miriam Aboobaker was correct that the manner in which the victim was left lying on the street with her lower body exposed was “extremely demeaning for a woman”.
She said the post mortem report also showed that two of the four stab wounds that Ngubane inflicted in her neck were “very, very deep”.
She highlighted the rights of women to dignity and privacy and said rape is rightly regarded as a heinous crime by society.
“You not only murdered the victim’s self respect but you then murdered her … You took advantage of a defenceless female,” she added.
Singh said the factors that she found were compelling enough to deviate from a life sentence were that Ngubane was 26 years old, that he pleaded guilty, that he is a first offender and that alcohol played a part in the incident. At the same time she said society had to be protected from him.
She sentenced him to 15 years’ imprisonment on each of the two charges but ordered that 10 years run concurrently. This means he must serve an effective 20 years.