Call for death penalty after fiancee killed

Lee-Anne Butler

A NELSON Mandela Bay businessman whose fiancee was murdered in a horrific attack at Lake Farm three years ago said although her killers were sentenced yesterday to life in prison, they deserved nothing short of the death penalty.

Garth van Niekerk, who runs a Bay printing company, said the killers of his fiancée, Robin Eberhardt, did not deserve to live after the crime they had committed.

Van Niekerk was reacting after yesterday’s sentencing of Thembinkosi Kweta, 33, and Sibulele Mzantsi, 32, who were convicted of murdering Eberhardt in 2009.

Eberhardt was stabbed eight times after Kweta and Mzantsi entered the home the couple shared at Lake Farm early on the evening of April 1.

They fled the scene empty-handed after she managed to push a panic button during the attack.

Van Niekerk said he was two plots away having coffee with friends when Atlas Security contacted him to inform him that the panic button had been pushed at their property.

He had sped back home and found Eberhardt in a pool of blood. “Her nose was almost severed from her face and was hanging on by a piece of skin. The brutality of her murder spells hatred,” he said.

“I think criminals who steal cars and rob should be behind bars, not those who rape and murder. The crime that these guys committed defies human logic. It was that inhumane.

“… They could have tied her up, knocked her unconscious or locked her in a room. They did not need to kill her.”

He said the government needed to prioritise the problem in a country where 18000 people were murdered each year.

“That is like a packed stadium at St George’s Park being killed each year. Something needs to be done. We cannot say that the death penalty will not deter them; it is about justice for those who have been murdered. Those who take away lives should not have the right to carry on living.”

Despite initially being suspected of the crime himself, Van Niekerk said he never gave up hope that those responsible would be apprehended.

“I told police that … they should look elsewhere too. My friends and family have always been behind me.”

Van Niekerk praised Judge Valerie Gqiba and state advocate Jason Thysse for the case, which he said was solved using forensic science to connect the two suspects to the murder.

Both men denied involvement, despite being tied by finger-print and DNA evidence to two knives found near the property. A neighbour also pointed them out in an identification parade.

Van Niekerk said he was angry that Kweta and Mzantsi were unapologetic and even laughed in court during the proceedings.

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