Woman gets 20 year sentence for stabbing husband to death

The Mpumalanga division of the High Court has convicted and sentenced Thembi Promise Simelane, 41, to 20 years direct imprisonment for stabbing her spouse Thulani Wonder Vilakazi, 53, to death.

The court further declared the accused unfit to possess a firearm under the Firearms Control Act 60 of 2000. This is after Simelane entered into a plea sentence agreement with the state.

Plea bargain explanation

In her plea explanation, Simelane admitted that on the evening of January 14 2023, she and the deceased were hosting visitors at their home. Their home is in Daartjie, in the district of Nsikazi. She said they were all having alcoholic beverages and listening to music.


After the visitors left, she remained with the deceased and their two minor children. She stated that she asked the deceased to switch off the radio, and he refused. During a verbal altercation, she stabbed the deceased twice with a knife and he fell on the floor. Their two minor children woke up and discovered that their father was on the floor bleeding.

After the incident, neighbours and emergency services were called to the scene. The deceased was declared dead. She was eventually arrested hence her conviction and sentence.

Broader issue of domestic violence

In aggravation of sentence, Advocate Zwelethu Mata addressed the court. He said that daily, we hear of women and children being violated by men. These happen for reasons that are not worthy even to repeat, let alone pronounce.

However, the accused’s case highlights the reality of domestic violence perpetrated against the man as well. Mata further told the court that the accused’s misdeed has left two young children orphaned. He said the children must now adjust to living with other family members. They must accept that they will never see their father again in their lives.

When handing down the sentence, the court found that the plea and sentence agreement was just and fair. It found there were compelling circumstances. These justified a sentence other than the prescribed minimum sentence.

The National Prosecuting Authority acknowledged the sentence. It applauded the prosecutor and the investigating officer for the speedy finalisation of the matter.


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