The two life sentences handed out to Lungile Nxelelwa for the rape and murder of his girlfriend in 2019 have been welcomed.
Nxelelwa raped, killed 27-year-old Keneilwe Pule in Sebokeng, Gauteng, desecrating her body with a grinder before torching her.
He was sentenced in the high court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
The judge presiding over the matter said Nxelelwa had stated his intention to kill Pule on numerous occasions.
Pule’s relatives were in court and they welcomed the sentence.
“Lungile is not right to live with other people. People like Lungile should be in jail,” the family says.
Pule’s aunt and family spokesperson, only identified as mmeManana, says the trial has reopened old wounds.
MmeManana says they still don’t exactly know how Nxelelwa killed Pule, among others.
“How did he kill Lungile..because there were kettle, ropes, grinders and knobkirries. We don’t whether he hacked her or he poisoned her and a lot of blood in the house,” she says.
“People like Lungile do not deserve to live with the people. Lungile is not right is person to live with the people. He is a giant. He can kill a person and rape him…rape him..so many things…how could Lungile rape a dead body…it’s not right.. it’s not right,” she says.
She says Nxelelwa’s mother is also scared of him. “Umama kaLungile naye I think..she is at peace,” she adds.
Rights group, #NotInMyName, has also welcomed Nxelelwa’s sentencing, describing it as long overdue.
“We believe South Africa needs more judgments like this in order to deter perpetrators and would-be perpetrators. We want sentences which deter the perpetrators of femicide, which is a scourge hounding our nation,” says the organisation’s general secretary, Themba Masango.
“We salute the courts, investigators and the justice system in this case for giving Keneilwe a voice, even in death. Our chant has been “Nxelelwa must rot in jail,” adds Masango.
The Gender Commission says Nxelelwa’s sentencing puts an end to one of the most traumatic cases of gender-based violence and femicide ever witnessed and heard of in the country.
“The Gender Commission believes this sentence will send a strong and unequivocal message that the judicial system is taking the fight against gender-based violence seriously,” the organisation adds.
Nxelelwa wasn’t happy with his sentence and lodged an appeal.
The judge, however, dismissed the application. – Report by Voice of Wits newsreader and reporter Lehlohonolo Malapane.