The 53-year-old was also sentenced to unlawful possession of firearm and ammunition, possession of a prohibited firearm and defeating the ends of justice. On the night of 15 October 2019, the accused and his wife had an argument at their marital home.
The accused shot and killed his wife Pheladi Beauty Ledwaba, while she was asleep. Their four children were in the house, sleeping in the same bedroom with the parents.
On the morning of the incident, the accused cleaned up the room and removed the cartridge. He then covered the deceased with a blanket and locked her up in their room.
He then took two children with him to the police station to hand over his licensed firearm.
SOLDIER SENTENCING PROCESS
During the trial, Ledwaba pleaded not guilty to the offence, but the court found him guilty as charged. In aggravating the sentence, the state Adv. Lerato Mohlaka argued that the accused, despite being employed as a soldier in the Polokwane Military Camp. A law enforcement officer, killed the mother of his three minor children.
He had also a maintenance court order issued against him in April 2022, for an amount of R 2 010 proving that he was not financially responsible for the children. They are currently in the care of their paternal aunt.
The soldier is not a primary caregiver, he did not financially contribute to the funeral of his wife. Nor apologised to her family and children. He demonstrated no remorse during the trial and subjected his children to testify on trial. He cannot be branded as a father, as he caused his children to be orphans.
The state further argued that there were no compelling and substantial circumstances. Warranting a deviation from the minimum sentence ordained by the legislation of life imprisonment.
The murder was meticulously planned, he went as far as sourcing a firearm, other than the one he was issued a license for and used it. He also tempered with the scene and removed the spent cartridges and went to the police station and cried like a victim.
This type of Gender Based Violence crime has no room in our communities. The children of the deceased are left without a mother, and now a father.
Judge President Ephraim Makgoba has sentenced Maesela Lucas Ledwaba to life imprisonment and ordered the sentence to run concurrently with the other counts.
The NPA welcomes the sentence and applauds the good work of Adv. Mohlaka, for making sure that GBV has no place in our communities.