Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
AN ex-Lupane State University laboratory technician who fatally assaulted his 52-year-old maid whom he was having an affair with after discovering that she was HIV positive, was yesterday sentenced to five years in jail.
Godson Zondo (40) from Emganwini suburb assaulted his maid Khethiwe Zimba with a plank all over the body in February 2018 after he discovered that she was on antiretroviral therapy (ART).
The maid, who was having an extramarital affair with Zondo, had not told him that she was HIV positive and tricked him into having unprotected sex twice at his matrimonial home.
Zondo took advantage of his wife’s absence to indulge in sex with the now-deceased. The offence was committed when his wife was away in Filabusi where she is a nurse.
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese convicted Zondo of a lesser charge of culpable homicide in connection with Zimba’s death. Initially, the accused person was charged with murder. He will serve an effective three years in jail after two years were suspended for five years on condition that Zondo does not within that period commit a similar offence.
In passing the sentence, Justice Makonese condemned Zondo’s conduct, saying it was deplorable.
“This offence is grave and serious and a life was needlessly lost due to the accused person’s recklessness. The deceased lied about her HIV status and even hid condoms resulting in the two lovers having unprotected sex and it is clear that the accused person got angry upon discovering antiretroviral drugs falling from the deceased’s bag,” he said. “It is clear that he acted in the heat of the moment due to provocation and lost self-control. He acted irrationally and his actions resulted in loss of life.”
The judge said courts discouraged infidelity, saying it undermined the sanctity of marriage.
“The accused person ought to have acted responsibly and exercised caution after the deceased had hidden the condoms. We however, don’t accept accused’s assertion that he was seduced by the deceased when he in fact, failed to exercise self-restraint by engaging in the sexual enterprise and his moral blameworthiness is very high,” said Justice Makonese.
The judge said Zondo deserved a custodial sentence, although it won’t be too harsh given the circumstances under which the offence was committed.
Justice Makonese also took into consideration the fact that Zondo compensated the deceased’s family with 18 head of cattle and also assisted with the funeral expenses.
Prosecuting, Mr Blessing Gundani said on February 3, 2018, Zondo and the now-deceased developed a sexual relationship after Zimba had assured the accused person that she was HIV negative and they had unprotected sex.
“On February 11, 2018, the accused and deceased had another unprotected sexual intercourse. However, after sex, the accused person discovered some ARV drugs which had fallen from deceased’s handbag,” he said.
The court heard that Zondo got angry and he confronted the deceased and demanded to know why she lied. The two were involved in a heated argument which degenerated into a fight. He took a plank and indiscriminately attacked the deceased and she fell headlong to the ground and bled profusely.
Zimba, the court heard, died in hospital the following day.
According to the post-mortem, the cause of death was severe skeleton-muscular damages, multiple injuries and callous murder.
In his warned and cautioned statement, Zondo said the deceased seduced him after she opened the door half naked and suggested that they have unprotected sex.
Mr Zibusiso Ncube of Ncube and Partners represented the accused person. — @mashnets