Black man gets life for sadistic rape, torture, murder of white pensioner

Curious onlookers outside the Kei Mouth Magistrate's Court where the trial was taking place. Video still: Despatch Online
Curious onlookers outside the Kei Mouth Magistrate’s Court where the trial was taking place. Video still: Despatch Online

A black man who raped and tortured to death elderly Kei Mouth resident Anne Roebert was yesterday sentenced to two life terms in jail plus a further 28 years, reports the Daily Dispatch.

Siyabonga Ntshabalala, 26, stood stony-faced as his lawyer Ntombenani Mtini read to the court his plea statement, which was replete with gruesome detail of his crimes.

In his plea, Ntshabalala describes how he and his co-accused Zukisani Tulani – who has pleaded not guilty to the rape and murder – broke into the home of the popular 75-year-old in Donax Street, Kei Mouth, because they knew she had a safe.

They tied her up with an electrical extension cord and demanded the keys to the safe. Roebert told them she thought the keys might be in her bag, says Ntshabala in his statement.

But none of the keys in this bunch fit the safe. She then referred them to another set of keys in a bag downstairs. These, too, did not open the safe. They decided to rape her to make her “speak the truth”.

After both men had raped her, she told them the keys were somewhere in the house. He said he had then fetched an iron from downstairs and plugged it in and had begun burning her with it on her stomach. He said Tulani had repeatedly strangled her with the cord.

“I burnt her until she said she does not have the energy to talk anymore.”

She had then fallen from the bed and died. They ransacked the house.

They split their booty and returned to their separate homes where they were later arrested by police

Complete disregard for the right to life, dignity, privacy, security and property

After Ntshabalala pleaded guilty and Tulani not guilty to the charges, Judge Nomathamsanqa Beshe separated their trials. Tulani’s trial begins today.

In sentencing Ntshabalala, Beshe said his callous crimes showed a complete disregard for the right to life, dignity, privacy, security and property.

She said it was clear Roebert had suffered a great deal at his hands and that they had used rape as a means of torturing her before burning her with a hot electrical iron. They did not have to use violence to the degree that they did or at all. “What resistance would a 75-year-old woman offer to two young men in their twenties?”

She sentenced Ntshabalala to life for both the rape and the murder. He was sentenced to a further 10 years for housebreaking with intent to rob, rape and murder and 18 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances.

The sentences will run concurrently.

Senior state advocate Nico Henning yesterday told the court he had been prosecuting for many years and had never come across such a degree of torture.

Mtini acknowledged there was little she could say for her client in mitigation. “[Mrs Roebert] was an elderly woman who should have been allowed to enjoy the peace of her home.”

Roebert’s family and friends sat in the public gallery.

Bev Roebert said her mother-in-law had been a remarkable woman and was much loved in Kei Mouth. She had edited the local newspaper and was deeply involved at the golf club.

“She was the life and soul of Kei Mouth. This is a peace-loving community with many pensioners and widows. They are so traumatised by this.”

Ntshabalala – who has a long rap-sheet spanning a decade, was out on parole for housebreaking when he raped and murdered Roebert. – dailydispatch.co.za