Pretoria – The government has welcomed the sentencing of Alutha Pasile, for the August murder and dismembering of University of Fort Hare law student Nosicelo Mtebeni.
The Eastern Cape High Court, sitting as a circuit court in East London, sentenced 25-year-old Pasile to 25 years imprisonment for the murder of the 23-year-old Mtebeni. Pasile was further sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for attempting to defeat the course of justice.
In his guilty plea Pasile stated that he attacked Mtebeni after he discovered “I love you” and “I miss you” messages on her cellphone. The National Prosecuting Authority said Pasile confronted Mtebeni and accused her of cheating.
However, evidence presented by Senior State Advocate Nickie Turner during aggravation of sentence revealed that these messages in fact were sent to Mtebeni by Pasile in 2019.
Welcoming the sentence, government spokesperson Phumla Williams said the sentence will serve as a deterrent.
“We welcome this sentencing and may it serve as an example to perpetrators that the might of the law will take its course,” Williams said.
“Government is deeply concerned that cases of gender-based violence have continued during this year and extends condolences to families and friends of Mtebeni and other women who have suffered.”
She said South Africa is in the midst of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, which is a heightened period to create awareness on what needs to change to prevent gender-based violence and femicide.
“We all have a part to play in challenging attitudes and stereotypes that perpetuate gender-based violence and femicide. This administration is committed to fighting gender-based violence and femicide and has made the fight its key priority. Of critical importance to note is that the country’s judicial system has handed down harsh penalties and sentences to those found guilty of gender-based violence”.
“Government has put in place a number of interventions to address this scourge. Some of the interventions, (include) the allocation of the R21 billion to drive implementation of the national strategic plan, which seeks to put an end to this pandemic.”
Williams said the plan involves measures to strengthen the criminal justice process and to prioritise the creation of economic opportunities for women who are vulnerable to abuse.
A number of regional courts have been designated as sexual offences courts in parts of the country.
Williams said about 3 500 investigating officers received specialised training on family violence, child protection and sexual crimes and about 12 public buildings have been renovated and repurposed as shelters. Police stations have also been capacitated with sexual assault evidence kits.
“These are just a few measure but much more work needs to be done. Government calls on all men to take the lead in speaking out and reporting gender-based violence, in raising awareness, in peer education and in prevention efforts,” Williams said.
“Every South African has a role to play, especially men, to ensure that the campaign is meaningful, and that it results in real change in the lives of South Africa’s women and children.”