Durban – A Pietermaritzburg High Court judge on Wednesday described the pain and anguish endured by a Wyebank mother, after her four children were killed by her husband earlier this year.
In handing down sentencing on Wednesday in the case of Sibusiso Mpungose, Judge Sharmaine Balton read an extract from the victim impact statement made by Xolisile Mpungose, in which she said that she sat and wondered why her children were killed in such a horrible manner.
Judge Balton sentenced Mpungose to four life terms for the murders.
In October, Mpungose pleaded guilty in the Pietermaritzburg High Court to the murders, and admitted to strangling and hanging his three biological children aged 4, 6, and 11, and his 17-year-old stepdaughter, in Pinetown in September.
In his guilty plea statement, the 44-year-old said he had been experiencing problems with his wife, who had filed for a divorce.
Mpungose said that this left him devastated and he decided to kill his children and himself.
Judge Balton, who included extracts of Xolisile’s statement in her sentencing judgment, read that the mother said she sometimes believed she could hear her children’s voices calling for her help.
“I see no reason for living on this Earth. I feel that my life ended the day my children were killed. I cannot face other children without thinking about my own. I see pictures of my children and the most painful fact is that they are gone and are never coming back to me,” Xolisile wrote.
Xolisile’s mother, who was seated in the public gallery behind Mpungose, was in tears as the statement was read out.
Judge Balton added that the post-mortem reports and crime scene photographs painted a gruesome picture of how the children died.
Speaking to Mpungose, the judge said: “You used the children as pawns in this fight with your wife. This is inhumane and exceptionally aggravating against you, as they were your children, three of whom were your flesh and blood.”
She told Mpungose that due to the circumstances of the crimes that he committed, the interests of society demanded that he be removed from society for a long time.
Describing the murders as brutal and senseless, Judge Balton said she hoped that the sentence would serve as a warning to like-minded people that the court would not tolerate this type of abuse.
As he was walking down to the holding cells after being sentenced, Mpungose swore at Xolisile’s family, who were sitting behind him, which resulted in an exchange of harsh words between him and the relatives.
An emotional Mthobisi Mlaba, who is Xolisile’s cousin, said Xolisile could not face coming to court.
“We accept the sentencing as we expected it, but it won’t bring back our kids. We are trying to live without them. Sibusiso doesn’t show any sign of regret about what he did and we won’t forgive him.”
The MEC for Social Development, Nonhlanhla Khoza, said the sentencing was a victory for Xolisile and her family.
“We appreciate the manner in which the case was handled and that he received a long sentence. I hope that this, at least, will send the message to anyone who might think of doing the same thing,” said Khoza.
The court heard that Mpungose had no intention of appealing the sentence.