Hlabirwa Rassie Nkune, a 37-year-old man from Mpumalanga, South Africa, has been sentenced to double life imprisonment for the murder of his girlfriend and her sister. Nkune was convicted and given double life imprisonment terms by the Mpumalanga Division of the High Court on May 18th, 2023, after being found guilty of premeditated murder of the two siblings. The victims were Pretty Mazibuko (46), with whom Nkune was in a romantic relationship, and Sergeant Marcia Mazibuko (41), a police officer.
Nkune faced charges of two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder, but the state withdrew the attempted murder charges against him. On May 15th, 2022, Nkune went to Mazibuko’s home in KaNyamazane, where an argument about infidelity took place.
After leaving the house during an argument over infidelity, the accused returned later armed with a firearm and began shooting at his girlfriend, Pretty Mazibuko. She tried to escape in the accused’s vehicle but got stuck in a heap of soil, and Nkune followed her and kept firing. When a vehicle with two people passed by and offered to help, Nkune also shot at them, but they managed to escape unharmed. Nkune then went back to the house and continued shooting at Pretty, before chasing and shooting her sister Marcia. Both victims died from their gunshot wounds while being transported to a local clinic. The accused fled the scene but was later arrested in August 2022 for the murder case that occurred in Sundra, Mpumalanga.
During the court proceedings, the accused pleaded guilty to two counts of murder, but the state rejected his plea for another count since it did not align with the facts of the case at the state’s disposal. As a result, the state presented an eyewitness testimony. The court found the state’s witness to be credible, and the accused was convicted of two counts of premeditated murder. During the sentencing hearing, Advocate Zwelethu Mata presented a victim impact statement prepared by court preparation officer Nomfundo Mokoena. The statement included the mother of the two deceased expressing her hatred towards the person who killed her children and her feelings of fear, anxiety, and pain whenever she is in court.
During the sentencing, Judge Takalani Vincent Ratshibvumo emphasized that the entire Mbombela community should be aware that the court will not tolerate or show leniency to those who commit crimes against women in our society. As a result, the Judge sentenced Nkune to double life imprisonment terms in prison and declared him ineligible to possess a firearm. The National Prosecuting Authority welcomed the sentence and commended the prosecution and police for their efforts in ensuring that justice was served. In the meantime, Nkune has also admitted to the murder of Hillary Gardee, the daughter of a South African politician who was born in Lagos, Nigeria.