Flavio Hlabangwane's plea justification slammed by the judge
Flavio Hlabangwane was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering and dismembering his cousin-turned-lover Tshepang Pitse

Flavio Hlabangwane’s plea justification slammed  by the judge. Flavio Hlabangwane was manipulative and degraded his lover and cousin Tshepang Pitse.

On Tuesday, in the Johannesburg high court, which was sitting in Palm Ridge, judge Cassim Ismael Moosa condemned Hlabangwane.

“From the evidence led by the state, it is clear that the accused humiliated and was manipulative towards the deceased. Further that he had previously been violent towards her,” he said.

The court observed that Hlabangwane sought to control the outcome of the trial by presenting a story that was favorable to him in his explanation of his plea in an effort to control the penalty that would be handed down if he were found guilty of murder.

“Further, the contents of the plea explanation cannot be termed as facts,” said Moosa.

Flavio Hlabangwane’s plea justification slammed  by the judge.

The judge stated that after carefully evaluating all of the available evidence, he came to the conclusion that there was “no reasonable possibility” that Hlabangwane’s judgment was compromised when he stabbed and severed Pitse’s body, “as this court had found that he acted with the degree of planning and premeditation.”

“I am of the view that the accused attempted to commit suicide upon arrest and by doing so created an atmosphere of invoking sympathy to support his narrative of the offence.

“The accused failed to provide any proof to support his allegations that the consumption of drugs had played a role in the commission of a crime. To this end there is no credible evidence to support such allegations by the accused in respect of himself and the deceased,” he said.

The 28-year-old admitted to killing Pitse and claimed that he planned to do so after learning that she had cheated on him. Two years ago, he killed and dismembered Pitse.

Hlabangwane received a life sentence in jail, an additional 10 years for thwarting the course of justice, and a further 15 years for violating a body. The two sentences, along with the life term, will run concurrently.

The episode, according to Moosa, made him think of remarks made by President Cyril Ramaphosa on November 1, 2022, at the second summit on gender-based violence and femicide at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand.

He said Ramaphosa had said the manner in which “all these murders and rapes happen tells a story about our society that is deeply disturbing”. He said it was a story of a nation that was seemingly at war with itself but, much worse, it was a story of a nation at war with its women and children.

According to him, the pandemic of crimes against women and children is surging, and civil society is outraged about it.

He claimed that civil society groups have stated that a consistent rise in incidences of gender-based violence has made SA one of the most violent nations outside of a war zone.

“It is clear to this court that incidents of domestic violence in the past two decades show no signs of decreasing. Government has identified domestic violence as a national scourge resulting in legislation and national projects to educate and create awareness,” he said.

The killing of Pitse, according to the evidence, was clearly pointless, according to Moosa.

He asserted that Hlabangwane’s claim that Pitse had been unfaithful to him should be categorically disregarded.

According to Phindi Mjonondwane, a spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the savage and reckless killing of women cannot become the norm, and the NPA will keep advocating for tough penalties for those who commit gender-based violence.

“Credit goes to prosecutor Johan Badenhorst and investigating officer Sgt Nxumalo for ensuring that justice is served,” she said.