12 August 2021

On Wednesday, 11 August 2021 the Mpumalanga High Court sitting in Middelburg sentenced Siyabonga Mbatha (25) from KwaZulu Natal to 25 years imprisonment for the murder of Thandeka Emigrant Mdeliswa.

Mbatha pleaded guilty to the offences and was subsequently convicted of murder, possession of unlicensed firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.

In his plea statement, Mbatha told the court that on 03 September 2020 he and his friend Ndabandaba went to collect a cellular phone 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 on the neck and fled the scene.

Mdeliswa was rushed to hospital and succumbed to her injuries, two days later. 

Mbatha was arrested a few days later together with his two co-accused, however charges against the other two were withdrawn as they could not be linked to the crime.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.

Thandeka’s mother said she has developed some diseases including ulcers due to stress since the incident occurred. 

The senior state advocate, Bakedi Maoke addressed the court about the prevalence of gender-based violence in our country, she said the court has the duty to impose sentences that would reflect the community’s anger towards these types of crimes.

She added that Mbatha robbed the minor child of her mother at a young age. 

The court sentenced Mbatha to twenty-five years for murder, fifteen years for possession of unlicensed firearm and three years imprisonment for unlawful possession of ammunition.

The judge, Bruce Langa ordered that the 10 years imprisonment in respect of the sentence on count 2 and three years imprisonment in respect of count 3 to run concurrently with the sentence of twenty five years. Mbatha was also declared unfit to possess a firearm. 

The National Prosecuting Authority welcomed the successful prosecution and remains committed to ensuring that court cases are efficiently dealt with.