The 21-year-old man found guilty of murdering farm manager Ian Fellowes in Underberg has been sentenced to 22 years in jail.
Acting Judge Sibusiso Mngomezulu, sitting in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Thursday, said there were reasons he could impose less than the minimum sentence on Mthokozisi Mtolo.
He was young and could be rehabilitated. Also, he had pleaded guilty, shortening the trial.
“It appears you are prepared to take responsibility for your wrongdoing,” the judge told Mtolo.
However, he said, the offences Mtolo had been convicted of were serious and had become a daily reality for South Africans.
Not a day went by without reports of people losing their lives to murderers.
“The prevalence of these offences negatively affects the economy.
“Foreign direct investors get cold feet as soon as they become aware of offences of this nature.
“A lack of direct investment leads to a high rate of unemployment and poverty. A vicious cycle then develops, which leads to a high crime rate.”
Fellowes had been killed in cold blood and had not posed a danger. He had co-operated and given Mtolo all he had, which was R100. Nevertheless, Mtolo had shot him and ransacked the house.
“It is a pity that no matter how long imprisonment can be, it can’t bring back the life of the deceased and will never compensate the loss the deceased’s family, relatives and friends suffered as a result of your actions.”
Fellowes lived in Lions River and had been managing the farm in Underberg when he died.
His wife, Anne, said she felt Mtolo had escaped with a light sentence.
I am shattered,” she said.