Mashudu Netsianda Senior Court Reporter
A MAN who killed his cousin’s wife with a hoe to fix her husband for allegedly having an adulterous affair with his wife was yesterday jailed for life. Philani Maphosa, 36, of Mahosangwe Village in Matobo, killed Ncedisani Sibanda, 27, as her eight-year-old son and brother-in-law, 17, watched helplessly.
Maphosa accused Sibanda of defending her husband, Jethro Ndlovu, whom he suspected of having an adulterous affair with his wife, Siboniso Dube.
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Francis Bere concluded that Maphosa intentionally killed Sibanda as he told her that he wanted to terminate her life so that Ndlovu would equally feel the pain of losing a wife.
“Maphosa made it clear that he intended to end Sibanda’s life to fix her husband for having an extra-marital affair with Dube. From his utterances he stated that he wanted Ndlovu to be at par with him by killing his wife in revenge for allegedly snatching his wife. Consequently, we find Maphosa guilty of murder with actual intent,” ruled Justice Bere.
The judge described Maphosa as an evil man who showed no remorse after killing a defenceless woman who was carrying a baby on her back.
“The attack was directed at an innocent and defenceless woman with a baby strapped on her back. We don’t believe Sibanda deserved to lose her life in the manner that she did,” said Justice Bere.
He said the affected children would be haunted by the incident for the rest of their lives.
“Your conduct was callous. You killed a woman in front of her minor children who will probably live with the trauma for the rest of their lives. The cumulative conduct demonstrated by Maphosa demands that he be removed from society for life,” ruled Justice Bere.
Prosecuting, Nokuthaba Ngwenya said on August 21, 2012, Maphosa went berserk after picking up a handwritten love letter along a foot path in Mahosangwe village. He suspected the letter was written by Ndlovu, to his wife.
Maphosa suspected the two were having an affair and concluded the love letter he picked was meant for his wife.
He also claimed that Ndlovu’s wife confirmed that the handwriting was her husband’s and the piece of paper had been pulled out of her diary.
Enraged, Maphosa gathered some elders in the family to discuss the matter but his wife fled fearing for her life.
Four days later, he went to Ndlovu’s homestead and when he could not find him, he vented his anger on Sibanda.
The court heard that he picked an argument with Sibanda while in the kitchen hut and they both walked out in the heat of the row.
Maphosa, the court heard, picked a hoe and threatened Sibanda who fled back into the kitchen and closed the door.
Maphosa forcibly pushed the door open and then struck his victim five times on the back of the head leaving her unconscious with her son and brother-in-law watching helplessly.
The court heard that Maphosa fled from the village but was arrested a few days later.
In mitigation through his lawyer, Byron Sengweni, Maphosa pleaded for leniency, saying he was a family man looking after his three children.