THE man convicted of killing Matwetwe actor Sibusiso Khwinana has been sentenced to life in prison by the North Gauteng High Court in Tshwane on Friday, 12 May.
Tanzanian national Julies Lucas (37) was found guilty of killing Khwinana in 2019. Khwinana, with his co-star Tebatso Mashishi and his lady friend, had gone to Sterland Mall in Arcadia to watch the premiere of Matwetwe, in which the deceased was a lead actor.
After watching the movie, while waiting for the e-hailing taxi service outside and taking photos, Lucas forcefully grabbed the actor’s phone and ran.
The actor ran after him and when he caught up, they struggled for the phone. During the struggle, Lucas stabbed Khwinana on his chest with a sharp object and fled the scene. When Khwinana’s friends caught up, they found him on the floor, bleeding. They called the ambulance but upon arrival, he was declared dead .
According to the post-mortem report, Khwinana died as a result of a stab wound through the heart.
Lucas had been in custody since his arrest in 2019, and during trial he pleaded not guilty to all charges. During the sentence proceedings on 28 March, he tried to delay the process by firing his attorney, saying he wanted to appoint a new legal representative and wanted to appeal his conviction, but later changed his decision.
Lucas was also sentenced to 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances and eight years for contravening the Immigration Act, after it was found that he was in South Africa illegally.
Judge Portia Phahlane ordered that after serving his sentence, Lucas should be deported back to his country of origin and that the copy of the judgment should be made available to the National Director of Public Prosecutions, minister of Justice and Correctional Services as well as that of Home Affairs.
When Phahlane delivering judgment, she said Lucas had robbed the entertainment industry and South Africa of great talent.
“The only appropriate sentence for him was that of imprisonment because he showed no remorse, and had no respect and understanding of the importance of taking an oath because he lied several times during his testimony,” she said.
The NPA welcomed the sentence.
Prosecutor Advocate Jeffery Nethononda said Lucas was an opportunistic robber and this offence should not be mistaken as a robbery gone wrong, but that Lucas had a clear intention to kill Khwinana.
He also told the court that Lucas had two previous convictions of drug possession in 2015 and 2016.
Therefore, he asked the court to impose a sentence that will send a message to the community.
NPA spokeswoman Lumka Mahanjana said after the sentencing, Lucas, through his attorney, brought an application for leave to appeal his conviction and sentence.
“The state successfully opposed the application, stating that Lucas had no prospects of successful appeal. The judge dismissed both applications,” she said.