A 27-YEAR-OLD Sihlengeni man has been sentenced to 12 years for stabbing his teammate to death with an okapi knife over a bad tackle.
Mthokozisi Masuku of Sihlengeni village in Nkayi pleaded guilty to culpable homicide when he appeared before High Court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo at the Hwange circuit on Tuesday.
For the State, Matirai Ngwasha said on June 22 2012 at around 4pm, Masuku and Mehluli Nkomazana (19) were at a soccer training session at the Sihlengeni Primary School ground.
During the training session, a misunderstanding erupted between the two over a tackle and Masuku pulled out an okapi knife from his trouser pocket and stabbed Nkomazana once in the left side of his chest. Nkomazana died before reaching Dakamela Hospital.
Masuku’s pro deo lawyer Thulani Nkala of Dube and Company Legal Practitioners said his client was not guilty of murder, but culpable homicide in that he unintentionally caused the death of Nkomazana.
Sentencing Masuku, Justice Moyo sitting with assessors Felix Bhobhote Dube and Elizabeth Chazanga, concurred but said what compounded the situation was that Masuku intentionally moved around with an okapi knife with an intention to stab someone and that he stabbed Nkomazana over a minor disagreement.
“What aggravated the situation was that Mthokozisi was moving around with an okapi knife with an intention to use it. The offence was over a ball tackle and if this is a means of settling disagreements, then all of us would be killed as a result of differing. For this reason, the court finds you guilty of culpable homicide (and) therefore 12 years in prison will be appropriate,” Justice Moyo ruled.