Piet Mabotja who raped and murdered a woman and then hid her body in a maintenance shaft in a government building in Tshwane, did not plead guilty because he was remorseful, but because his DNA was found on the victim.
These were the submissions made by the State on Monday during sentencing proceedings in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, sitting in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court.
Mabotja, 35, pleaded guilty to nine charges, including raping and murdering Nomathamsanqa Regina Majola, 28, in December 2017. Her body was found in the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries building in the capital city.
He also pleaded guilty to the rape of another woman near Stanza Bopape Clinic in Mamelodi in September 2018, shortly before he was arrested.
His plea was accepted by the court, which officially found him guilty on Friday.
Arguing in mitigation of sentence on Monday, Mabotja’s Legal Aid attorney, who refused to give her name to News24, told the court that Mabotja acknowledged responsibility and showed remorse as he pleaded guilty.
She said that Mabotja is single and has a 9-year-old son who he supports financially.
His attorney asked the court to deviate from the minimum prescribed sentence of life imprisonment for rape and murder, citing his guilty plea as a mitigating factor.
However, arguing in aggravation of sentence, State prosecutor advocate Bakedi Maoke did not mince her words, asserting that Mabotja should be permanently removed from society.
Maoke argued that Mabotja’s guilty plea was not a sign of remorse but rather because the evidence linking him to the crime could not be disputed.
“The accused did not wear condoms in either offence, the DNA results were positive, that is why he pleaded guilty,” Maoke said.
The State further argued that Mabotja was clearly a serial offender as he was previously found guilty of murder and attempted rape in KwaMhlanga, Mpumalanga.
He was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2007 but only served about eight years before being released on parole in November 2015. He was a parolee when he murdered and raped Majola and the victim in Mamelodi.
The court also heard that Majola left behind two minor sons, aged 7 and 11. Her eldest son now lives with her sister, while the youngest lives with his paternal grandmother.
“The traumatic effect that this has had on the family of the deceased is evident according to the testimony of the witness,” Maoke said.
Robbed of a mother’s love
“The accused has robbed the two minor children of their mother. They lost their mother in such a brutal way, it will have a lasting effect on them.
“They will never feel their mother’s love.”
Majola’s sister, who testified in aggravation of sentence, told the court that both sons have been struggling emotionally since the death of their mother.
The eldest son failed his grade in 2018, while the youngest still had outbursts, screamed that his mom was coming back and that she was just in Pretoria.
News24 previously reported that Mabotja and Majola were colleagues and were contracted by the same company to work as cleaners at the Sefala building.
Mabotja lured Majola to the seventh floor of the building, where he raped and strangled her to death before he hid her body in a maintenance shaft.
“I killed her because I was overwhelmed by the fear of her pressing charges of rape against me. I had no right to kill her and I further know that my actions are wrong and punishable by law,” Mabotja said in his plea statement.
Maoke pointed these aspects out when she asked for life sentences to be imposed for rape and murder.
“The deceased was a defenceless woman and trusted the accused as a male colleague to protect her. He abused her trust in the worst possible manner by raping and murdering the deceased,” Maoke said.
“She was unarmed and helpless when she was raped and strangled.
“The only appropriate sentence in this matter is the one that removes him permanently from society because society is not safe if he is not in prison.”
Acting Judge Peet Johnson is expected to hand down sentence on Wednesday.