The shocking murder of Naledi Lethoba this week has left South Africans incandescent. The 19-year-old from Bothaville was stabbed and burned before being discovered by a forensic team in Free State. A 21-year-old male student has since handed himself over to the authorities, but he’s now facing calls to be sentenced to the death penalty.
Naledi Lethoba murder – latest news:
The fury has been somewhat exacerbated by a video which surfaced online in the past 24 hours. The harrowing footage shows a woman being mutilated before she’s murdered. It was initially believed that the victim in the clip was Naledi, but these claims have since been dismissed.
The crime fits a disturbing pattern in South Africa that infuriates the masses like nothing else. Another young woman has become the target of a gender-based murder – following in the tragic footsteps of Karabo Mokoena and Hannah Cornelius – who lost their lives because of violent men.
Social media has been very clear about their take on Obed Leshoro, who is currently the prime suspect in the case:
Its easy to kill someone in South Africa because you will go to jail and even get benefits that abiding citizens cant even access, food, free education etc….How about we Bring Death Penalty Back…….#RIPNaledi
— Lesego Mapela (@Thee_Les_ego) May 31, 2019
Political parties who support the death penalty
The severity of this crime has also piqued the interest of politicians. Only a handful of parties in the National Assembly advocate the death penalty, but one of them is the African Transformation Movement (ATM).
The Jimmy Manyi-backed organisation secured their first seats in Parliament during the 2019 Elections, and they are leading the capital punishment calls. The IFP and ACDP are also in favour of this measure.
Vuyo Zungula is the ATM president, and he took the opportunity on Friday to suggest that the death penalty must be implemented if there are “extenuating circumstances”:
“I wonder how many people have to be brutally murdered for us to have a conversation as a country on the introduction of a Justice based Capital Punishment system for extenuating circumstances like this? #JusticeForNaledi”
Details of Naledi Lethobo’s murder
Given the grisly details that have emerged from this case, the “eye-for-an-eye” sentiment remains strong. Naledi Lethobo’s body was found with a knife stuck in her neck and much of her torso and face was burned.
Investigators also made a gruesome discovery when they took a closer look at her charred chest — her breasts were cut off. Her family came forward a few days later and identified her as the missing teenage university student.