SOUTH AFRICA – The Pretoria Magistrate’s Court has sentenced a Nigerian, Onyeghani Ekene Dumkele, to life imprisonment for the murder of a multi-talented up-and-coming South African singer, Shaun Douglas Chabalala.
Chabalala, who was also an actor and dancer, was found dead in his apartment in Pretoria West in August 2019.
It also reported that the 37-year-old Dumkele bagged an additional 15 years imprisonment for aggravated robbery.
This included a 12-month suspended sentence on the condition that he be extradited to Nigeria after completing his concurrent sentence for murder and aggravated robbery.
The 23-year-old Limpopo artiste, Chabalala and his friend, Given Mzamane, were lured to the infamous Tambotle block of flats in Sunnyside, east of Pretoria, in May 2018 through a fake advertisement of a luxury camera.
Both of them arrived at the populated block of flats, with the intention of purchasing the advertised camera.
Dumkele was arrested shortly afterward and charged with the murder, which was reportedly committed during a robbery.
During the trial, Dumkele reportedly pleaded not guilty to the charges, but the court ultimately found him guilty of murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
The Sunnyside police spokesperson, Captain Daniel Mavimbela, spoke about the incident, adding that Chabalala was robbed inside the seventh-floor residential unit, forcefully thrown out of the window and died at the scene.
“Mzamane testified that he forced his way out of the door and managed to escape, however, it was not before he had witnessed two men, who had participated in the robbery and attack on himself and Chabalala, lift Chabalala and throw him out of the window from the same apartment,” Mavimbela said.
Chabalala’s death shocked the South African entertainment industry, with many of his fans and fellow artistes taking to social media to pay tribute to the young star.
In a statement after the sentencing, Chabalala’s family expressed relief that justice had been served.
“We are grateful that the perpetrator has been brought to book, and hope that this will serve as a warning to others who might consider such heinous acts in the future,” the statement read. “Our son’s memory will continue to inspire us and all those who loved him.”