When the two men accused of strangling and raping the eighty six year old nun from KwaZulu Natal appeared before the KZN High Court in Pietmaritzburg on Friday, they were each sentenced to two life terms for the murder and rape of the octogenarian while they had a further eighteen years each added for stealing the nun’s property.
The two men, Sbongiseni Phungula (24) and his co-accused, Mondli Shoza (25), pleaded guilty to the crimes that were before them and were thus sentenced. It is believed that the two men went to Catholic nun, Getrud Tiefebacher’s room at the Sacred Heart Convent in Ixopo, KwaZulu Natal where it is believed they raped her after tying her up with a typewriter cable. She appears to have died due to suffocation. The two are also said to have proceeded to make away with several items of property that belonged to the nun. These items were recovered from Shozi and Phungula after they were apprehended. The two men are said to have been arrested after they were linked to the 18 April crime through DNA evidence in addition to the physical evidence.
Speaking after the passing of the sentence, the Provincial Commissioner for KwaZulu Natal, Lieutenant General Mmamonnye Ngobeni, said that the sentence that had been handed down at the trial would send a clear message to would be offenders that being involved in crimes would land them in prison. “This will send a clear message to the criminals that if they involve themselves [in] any criminal activities, they will serve long time in prison,” he said in his statement. He went on to commend the investigating officers for a job well done in the way they had handled the investigation. “I also commend the task team members who were investigating this case by making sure that the matter is fully investigated and the accused are convicted,” said Lieutenant General Ngobeni. Also welcoming the sentences that were handed to the murderers and rapists were some nuns who knew and had worked with Sister Getrud Tiefebacher.