A m_rderer and serial housebreaker who targeted properties at an exclusive golf estate where he had worked in Mossel Bay on the Garden Route has been sentenced to 37 years’ direct imprisonment.
Lesotho national Seabatha Clement Kholoane, 41, who k_lled an elderly resident with a knife she held to defend herself, was convicted by the Western Cape High Court on charges of murder, housebreaking with intent to steal, theft, attempted robbery with aggravating circumstances and being in the country illegally.
The state alleged that between May 20 and September 16 2022 he entered South Africa on a visitor’s visa but stayed after it expired. He worked for a property management company that rents, sells and manages properties within Pinnacle Point Golf Estate in Mossel Bay.
“In his plea and sentencing agreement he confessed that on May 21 2022, though he was not working on the day, he entered [the estate] with his security card and proceeded to [an address] used as a base for overseeing other properties,” National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said on Monday.
“He broke in and stole a laptop, alcohol and clothing. He placed the stolen items in a vehicle he found on the property, used a back entrance to the golf estate to get out and sold the items to members of the public in Kwanonqaba, Mossel Bay. He later abandoned the vehicle.”
Kholoane was arrested three days later and pointed out where the items had been sold. However, the case was struck off the roll due to outstanding issues.
Kholoane entered the estate again on June 3 2022 via a walking trail close to the shoreline and entered the home of Johannes Steyl Willemse, 86, and Marietha Sophia Willemse, 79, where he had previously worked.
The husband had Alzheimer’s disease and was cared for by his wife, who shouted at the intruder.
“He claimed the wife went to fetch a knife from the kitchen while her husband was approaching him. He alleged the wife continued shouting at him in Afrikaans and he became offended and angry because of what he perceived to be derogative language. He grabbed the knife from her and stabbed her multiple times. He also stabbed her husband when he attempted to stop him from attacking his wife,” said Ntabazalila.
Marietha succumbed to the stab wounds. The intruder tried to take the couple’s German sedan but could not start it.
Days later he broke into another home, stealing alcohol, hand towels and binoculars.
He struck again on September 3 2022, breaking open a liquor cabinet to drink expensive whisky before taking cash from a safe.
He stole jewellery, a cellphone, laptop, clothing, laptop bag, a Casio edifice, a Zippo lighter and a cordless hair trimmer in another burglary on September 16 2022.
Investigators managed to trace him from bloody finger and palm prints and linked him to the crimes by DNA. As the net closed, he fled to Lesotho. He was caught in December 2022 at Wepener in the Free State.
Arguing for sentence, senior state advocate Lenro Badenhorst said the elderly man whose wife was k!lled had to be moved to a special care facility. The family was traumatised by the attack on their parents.
For all eight charges, Kholoane was sentenced to a combined 54 years’ direct imprisonment. The court ordered some sentences to run concurrently