Vaal University of Technology student killer sentenced to 22 years in jail

Lunga Gumede in the high court in Johannesburg, where he was sentenced on March 10 2020.
Lunga Gumede in the high court in Johannesburg, where he was sentenced on March 10 2020.
Image: Nonkululeko Njilo

Lunga Gumede was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment for the murder of Vaal University of Technology student Tinyiko Ngobeni by the high court in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Ngobeni, who was from Katlehong, went missing after she was last seen leaving her family home with Gumede, her boyfriend at the time, in 2016. Six days later her decomposed body was found in bushes near the R55.

She had been strangled to death and was 10 weeks pregnant.

Tinyiko Ngobeni was murdered in 2016.
Tinyiko Ngobeni was murdered in 2016.
Image: Supplied

Judge Francois du Plessis described Ngobeni’s killing as senseless after Gumede lied to her family when he was questioned about her whereabouts.

Gumede was found guilty of the murder in 2019.

“The  court could not, on the facts of the matter, find beyond reasonable doubt that the murder was premeditated or planned. There is no indication of what happened between the accused and the deceased at the time,” said Du Plessis.

He said Ngobeni’s murder had caused public outrage, and rightly so. “The prevalence of crimes against women, especially those in intimate relationships, is alarming.”

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) welcomed the sentence, which also came as a relief to the Ngobeni family.

“It has been a long journey for the Ngobeni family,” said NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwana.

“What we have seen today is a family full of smiles. We are satisfied we have played our role as the NPA. Society continues to depend on the criminal justice system to deliver justice. We are satisfied with the sentence,” she said.

Gumede’s legal representative, Advocate Leona Fick, told the court her client planned to appeal the sentence.

Mjonondwana applauded state prosecutor Advocate Robert Molokoane, who she said went beyond the call of duty to ensure justice was served.

“As the NPA we pride ourselves and are grateful for prosecutors like advocate Molokoane, who continue even after hours. During weekends he had to meet the family in preparation for this case,” she said.


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