Jason Rohde sentence puts spotlight on femicide in SA

27 February 2019 - 14:32 By PHILANI NOMBEMBE
Jason Rohde was given a 20-year sentence for murdering his wife Susan in 2016. The judge said SA had become the femicide capital of the world.
Jason Rohde was given a 20-year sentence for murdering his wife Susan in 2016. The judge said SA had become the femicide capital of the world.
Image: Anthony Molyneaux

Prosecutors hope that the 20-year prison sentence meted out to wife-killer Jason Rohde will serve as a deterrent to those considering killing their intimate partners.

Judge Gaayat Salie-Hlophe pointed out during sentencing on Wednesday that the "proportion of intimate homicides in our country stands at 57%. We have become the femicide capital of the world. This is clearly an epidemic and an enormous social problem."

Salie-Hlophe handed the former Lew Geffen/Sotheby's chief executive an 18-year prison sentence for murder and five years for defeating the ends of justice. Three years of the five-year sentence will run concurrently with the murder sentence - making it an effective 20-year sentence.

Rohde was convicted by the high court in Cape Town of murdering his wife, Susan, at an estate in Stellenbosch in 2016. They shared a room while Rohde attended a work conference there.

The last 11 months of the marriage was stormy after Susan discovered her husband was having an extramarital affair. Susan was found dead, behind a locked bathroom door.

"It is ... important and the duty of the courts to contribute in our role as the justice system to impose appropriate sentences, particularly where women are murdered in the context of marriages, their relationships and homes," said Salie-Hlophe.

"Whilst it is so that you, as the accused, cannot be sacrificed at the altar of deterrence for other would-be offenders ... the interests of the community must be satisfied that offenders of serious crimes such as these be punished accordingly," said Salie-Hlophe.

Eric Ntabazalila, provincial spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, welcomed the sentence.

"It's a sentence that we welcome and it says a lot about femicide which the judge highlighted as a problem in SA," he said.

"We hope it will make a difference in terms of fighting femicide in this country. As you have heard it stands at about  57% compared to other countries. It's a huge challenge.

"It's people who are who are supposed to love each other and when they kill each other, it not only affects them. It affects other family members," he added.


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