Pretoria - Tanzanian national, Julies Lucas, the man who killed Matwetwe actor, Sibusiso Khwinana, was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Pretoria High Court on Friday.
Lucas, 37, was convicted of murder and robbery in February after the court accepted the evidence of three eye witnesses that he was the man who had stabbed Khwinana outside the movie theatre complex that night and robbed him of his cellphone.
He 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.
In April, minutes before sentencing proceedings were due to start, Lucas fired his lawyer, saying he was not happy with his service.
Lucas, who was at length told that this could delay the finalisation of his trial by a year, was adamant as he wanted to “satisfy his heart.” He said he was wrongly convicted as he is not the killer.
However, his delay tactics failed to work after Judge Portia Phahlane explained to him that as he cannot pay for his own lawyer, he was not in a position to pick and choose who he wanted to represent him and was given until May 3 to put in writing exactly what his gripe is with the state appointed lawyer.
When the day came, Lucas changed his mind and proceeded with the same attorney.
During sentencing, Phahlane said Lucas robbed South Africa of a true talent when he murdered Khwinana over a cellphone.
Phahlane also ordered that after serving his sentence, Lucas should be deported to his country of origin.
Khwinana, 25, was stabbed in March 2019 during a robbery outside Sterland Mall in Arcadia, Pretoria, where he had attended the screening of ’Matwetwe’, the locally-produced movie he starred in.
According to the police, Khwinana and a friend were on the corner of Pretorius Street and Steve Biko Road when Lucas accosted him and demanded his cellphone.
The actor was stabbed with a sharp object in the upper body as he tussled for his cellphone, and was certified dead on the scene.