Keep Wilberforce Poswa in prison

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In 2003 Wilberforce Poswa, 48, and Themba Ngxaki, 40, were found guilty of murdering widow Irene Mathews in her Marina da Gama home in May last year.


They were also found guilty of indecent assault, robbery, theft and house-breaking.

The state pathologist's report showed that Mathews was raped but both men denied the charge.

Before handing down the sentences on Thursday, Mr Justice Burton Fourie said: "The court has considered the interests of the public and of the victim's family, the living conditions and the social backgrounds of the accused, before handing down the sentence. Nonetheless, there was no need for the loss of human life."

Fourie said he acknowledged the defence's argument that the accused hadn't planned to kill Mathews but the evidence presented by a state pathologist showed that Mathews had suffered a slow death.

"She had broken neck bones and bruised skin from strangling and the tightening of the rope around her neck."

He said people have been killed in house-breaking incidents for being in their homes at the wrong time, while there had been no motives by burglars to kill them.

 
Poswa was given an additional 18 years for indecent assault, 15 years for house-breaking and 18 months for stealing Mathews's handbag.

Ngxaki was given 18 years for indecent assault, 15 years for house-breaking and three years for stealing the handbag.

It emerged in court evidence that Poswa had stolen Mathews's house keys before her murder. He had admitted that he had taken Mathews's handbag when she went inside to make him a sandwich and left her bag on the top of her car.

 
Poswa and Ngxaki admitted that they broke into Mathews's home on the night of her murder, but blamed each for the killing.

Evidence also revealed that Mathews had been found gagged, raped and with her hands tied behind her back and appeared to have been hit on the head with the broken-off back of a chair.

The state listed 77 items stolen from the home - including a CD player, microwave oven and a TV.

Only three weeks before Mathews was murdered, Ngxaki had been given a suspended sentence for theft.

He had also been charged for possessing stolen goods in 1990, 1992, 1996 and 1998 while his accomplice did not have a criminal record.

Poswa is now up for parole. This goes against everything we are fighting for as women in this country. He brutally attacked, raped and murdered a woman who tried to help him, a woman who was a tireless campaigner for equal rights and a struggle activist. An elderly and defenseless woman who was loved by many. This man does not deserve to walk free while her family carry her loss like a stone in their hearts.

Please help us stand for what is right, help us by signing a petition to deny parole, to ask for his sentance to be changed to life without parole as our president so gallantly promised a few months back.