The Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, has welcomed the double life sentence meted against murderer and rapist, Phillip Mailula aged 27.
The Mpumalanga Division of the High Court sitting at Kwaggafontein sentenced Mailula on Friday 18 September 2020, for unpalatable acts he committed on 9 September 2017. On that fateful day Mailula raped a nine year old girl and strangled her to death then concealed her body in the bushes in Mametlhake.
The court heard that after this heinous act, Mailula returned to his residence pretending nothing had happened. He was later struck by guilt but still engulfed by denial, he managed to disclose to someone, however changed the facts and mentioned that he instead saw two men committing the murder and rape against the young girl. Moments later, the story broke and spread around the community after the discovery of the girl’s body and police were immediately summoned.
The family told the police that they were still anticipating to report the girl as missing before the sad news. A case of murder was registered and immediately police launched an investigation which also unearthed that the victim was also raped. During the tour of the investigation, Mailula was questioned about these unexplainable events where he tried to be economical with the truth, instead he fingered two men aged 47 and 44. The two men were duly arrested but were later released as they were vindicated as they could not be linked. Their release was not well received by the community as they (community) went on rampage and torched the two men’s houses.
Police were not spared from the anger of the community as they thought they received some form of bribery hence the two men were set free. Unbeknown to the community that the authentic culprit is freely roaming the streets thinking that the score has been settled. The police’s relentlessness paid off when they reverted back to Mailula for further re-examination where he became overwhelmed and confessed.
He was then apprehended and released on bail where he absconded. A warrant of arrest was issued against him and was traced where police managed to re-arrest him. On Monday, 14 September 2020, Mailula pleaded guilty hence his sentence.
When handing down the judgement, the Presiding Judge Thando Mankge said that the sentence should send a strong message to the public and serve as a deterrent to other criminals intending to commit similar offences, especially at this time when the country fight Gender Based Violence. The Judge further indicated that this country cannot be free unless children are free.
The sentence was handed down as follows:
Count 1 – murder, sentenced to life imprisonment.
Count 2 = rape sentenced to life imprisonment.
The accused was also found to be unfit to possess a firearm and his name will be entered into the register of sexual offenders.
Lieutenant General Zuma is elated with the collective work done by the investigating team, the Prosecution as well as the Judiciary. He also utilised this opportunity to call on the community not to take the law into their own hands in such circumstances.
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